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With an Introduction by EDWARD CLODD 

Sometime President of the Omar Khayyam Club 




Edinburgh : T. and A. Constablb, Printers to Her Majesty 








Hitherto there has been no detailed 
account of the Life of Edward Fitz-Gerald. 
The sketch prefixed to the three-volume 
edition of his Letters and Literary Remains, 
and the articles in Dictionary of National 
Biography and Chambers s Cyclopcedia are, 
as may be supposed from their extent, mere 
skeletons. Fitz-Gerald, by his translation 
of Omar Khayyam, has been the means of 
influencing a large number of cultured men 
and women in England and America. It is 
natural that such persons should wish to 
know something of the life and character of 
the man whose genius they admire, and the 
formation of the * Omar Khayyam Club ' 
increased and intensified this desire, to the 
gratification of which they are legitimately 
entitled, as the publication of his entire 
works made him, in the literary world, 



as prominent a character as Shelley or 

The greater portion of the information 
contained in this Life has been obtained 
from private sources, from men and women 
who knew him^ well, who could describe 
his habits, who were as familiar with his 
generosity as with his eccentricity, who 
knew how tenderly he was beloved by his 
intimate friends, how sensitive he was to 
their sufferings, and how deeply he felt 
their loss. 

Among others who have favoured me 
with anecdotes and recollections of Fitz- 
Gerald, and to whom I tender my sincere 
thanks, are Miss Crabbe, Miss Allen, Miss 
Purcell, Miss Laurence, Mrs. Henry 
Fawcett, Rev. R. M. Rouse, Rev. C. B. 
Ratcliffe, Captain Woolner, Mr. Mowbray 
Donne, Mr. Bernard Quaritch, and Mr. 
Fox, who as a lad was his ' reader ' for a 
period of three years. To many others I 
am equally indebted, whose aid has been 
especially useful, but whose names, in 
obedience to injunction, I reluctantly with- 



hold. To Mr. Edward Clodd I desire to 
express my acknowledgment, not only for 
facts and suggestions, but also for perusing 
such portion of my Memoir as deals with 
Fitz-Gerald's translation of Omar, and for 
permission to make use of his privately 
printed Pilgrimage to Fitz- Gerald' s Grave. 

My thanks also are due, for permission to 
make extracts from their works, to Lord 
Tennyson {Life of the Poet Laureate) ; Sir 
Wemyss Reid {Life of Lord Houghton) ; 
Macmillan & Co. (Sir Frederick Pollock's 
Personal Remembrances) ; Bentley & Son 
(Fitz-Gerald's Letters to Fanny Kemble) ; 
and to Sampson Low & Co. (Life and 
Letters of Charles Samuel Keene). To the 
articles on Fitz- Gerald and his works which 
appeared in the Quarterly, the Edinburgh, 
and the Fortnightly Reviews I am indebted 
for hints and suggestions. 

February i, 190x3. 



The author of this Life has not only 
spent his life among books, but has added 
to their number in treatises of value for 
knowledge of the history of his native 
country. His narrative of the life of one of 
its worthies is a fit supplement to these. 
Mr. Glyde has good warrant for his assump- 
tion that a considerable number of readers 
on both sides of the Atlantic will welcome 
a somewhat full account of the eccentric 
recluse, who, in ' mashing together ' the 
quatrains of Omar Khayyam, and transmit- 
ting them into noble and stately English 
verse, unwittingly gave rise to a cult in- 
creasing year by year in the number of its 
votaries, and gained for himself a renown as 
immortal as it was unsought and undesired. 

The horror of publicity which character- 
ised Edward Fitz- Gerald may be advanced 
in plea for the reticence observed by his 

Introductory Note 

literary executor, Mr. W. Aldis Wright, 
when editing the Letters and Remains, 
in dealing with the incidents of a life which 
ran, with rare interruptions, an even course 
from childhood to the grave. It is true 
that we get a well-nigh sufficing portrait of 
the man in the Letters. They evidence 
that his friendships were, as he says, ' like 
loves.' Their assessment of literature, 
both of his own and former times, accord 
him a place among acute, competent, and 
incorruptible judges. They assure him a 
place in the rare company of great letter- 
writers. Nevertheless, and with -all due 
praise for the restraint which Mr. Aldis 
Wright has imposed upon himself, the 
publication of the Letters (which Fitz- 
Gerald never contemplated) being decided 
upon, the thread of narrative on which they 
are strung is too thin. For some of them 
have references, more or less cryptic, to 
matters upon which explanation is necessary. 
If the editor's intention was to baulk public 
curiosity about subjects with which outsiders 
have no concern (an intention not to be too 


Introductory Note 

highly commended), the remedy was at 
hand in the exclusion of letters whose 
perusal, unhelped by explanation, could only 
bewilder or tantalise the reader, and give 
rise to all kinds of surmises. 

Mr. Aldis Wright's omissions, however, 
afford Mr. Glyde his opportunity, and of 
this he has made tactful and sober use. 
His materials have been collected with 
industry and persistence from authentic 
sources, happily, among these, from the few 
survivors who knew Fitz-Gerald in the 
flesh. And although, in the judgment of 
some, there may be an overlaying of detail, 
which is no help to the general presentment 
of the man's characteristics, the broad result 
is to depict him faithfully — ' wrinkles, warts, 
and all ' — in his several relations of husband, 
friend, and citizen. His place in literature is 
secure ; there is no need to dwell upon that. 

It is matter of regret that there should be 
need to introduce the subject ; but the lying 
legends about Fitz-Gerald's marriage retain 
such vitality, even in circles where their 
admission is not suspected, that Mr. Glyde 


Introductory Note 

has rendered good service in clearing the 
air of them. The most current one is, that 
in obedience to the request of his dying 
friend, Bernard Barton, to 'look after' his 
daughter Lucy, Fitz-Gerald married her im- 
mediately after her father's death, and left 
her at the church door ! Despite references 
in the Letters to the presence of Fitz-Gerald's 
wife with him in London some months after 
their marriage, the legend lives on ; now, it 
is to be hoped, receiving its quietus from 
Mr. Glyde. A more agreeable topic, to 
which Mr. Glyde refers, is the attitude of 
Edward Fitz-Gerald (who, if he may be 
classed at all, is to be classed as an Agnos- 
tic) towards the religion of his country as by 
law established. Replying to a letter from 
Carlyle, commenting on the 'substantial 
goodness found among the villagers, ' re- 
sulting from the funded virtues of many 
good humble men gone by/ Fitz-Gerald 
says: 'If the old Creed was so commendably 
effective in the generals and counsellors of 
two hundred years ago, I think we may be 
well content to let it work still among the 


Introductory Note 

ploughmen and weavers of to-day ; and 
even to suffer some absurdities in the form, 
if the spirit does well on the whole. Even 
poor Exeter Hall ought, I think, to be 
borne with' (Letters, i. 227, 1894 edition). 
Three clergymen, Archdeacon Allen, Arch- 
deacon Groome, and the Reverend George 
Crabbe, were among Fitz-Gerald's closest 
friends. Probably they never discussed theo- 
logy with him. His sincerity, manliness, 
and worth drew out what was best, what 
was most human, in both cleric and lay- 
man ; and, for his part, he was wisely 
content to recognise that a machinery which 
has, on the whole, worked for the better- 
ment of men, should not be suffered to 
get out of gear because the pattern is 
obsolete. The reader may now, without 
further arrest on my part, pass to a pre- 
sentment of Edward Fitz-Gerald which, 
if that be possible, can only enhance his 
estimation of one of the most striking figures 
in the great company of high-souled, love- 
able, and cultivated men. 













BARTON ..... 237 













INDEX . -353 



The biography of Edward Fitz-Gerald is 
the life story of a man who has during the 
last few years been awarded a niche in the 
Temple of Fame ; though when he died, he 
was in the literary world known only to a 
chosen few, and outside his own circle was 
spoken of as one of the % casuals of literature. 
He was, nevertheless, the valued friend of 
Alfred Tennyson, Thomas Carlyle, William 
Makepeace Thackeray, Dr. W. H. Thomp- 
son, Master of Trinity College, Cambridge, 
Professor Cowell, and others. Strange as 
it may seem, he spent nearly the whole of 
his life in the little town of Woodbridge, 
Suffolk, and its immediate neighbourhood ; 
and many of those who lived beside him 

A I 

The Life of 

and knew him well, looked upon him as a 
benevolent eccentric, strolling through life 
in Bohemian fashion, regardless of time or 
money, whilst others (according to his 
friend Charles Keene, who stayed with him 
at Woodbridge on three or four occasions) 
considered him as rather daft ! 

One of his dearest friends has said that a 
life like that of Fitz-Gerald has no story. 
I hope that my readers will feel, before they 
close this volume, that it is a life worth 
sketching, and one that conveys lessons 
of value to students of human nature. At 
any rate, I know that many persons desire 
to have a better acquaintance with the man 
and his career than can at present be ob- 
tained. In furnishing this contribution, I 
hope to be able to remove some misconcep- 
tions that are afloat respecting one who, by 
his inimitable translation, has done more 
than any other man to make known 
to English readers the poems of Omar 
Khayyam, a Persian astronomer, mystic, 

Edward Fitz-Gerald 

and philosopher of the eleventh cen- 
tury, who has thus become an object of 
reverential regard in the realms of modern 

Edward Fitz-Gerald was born at Bred- 
field, a small Suffolk village two miles from 
Woodbridge, on the 31st of March 1809. 
He was the third son of Mr. John Purcell, 
who at the time of Edward's birth resided 
at Bredfield House, an old mansion standing 
in a well-wooded park, and commanding a 
fine view of the surrounding country. The 
district is not rich in scenery, but from the 
road in front of the lawn people could catch 
a glimpse of the topmasts of men-of-war 
lying in Hollesley Bay. Fitz-Gerald liked 
the idea of the old English manor-house, 
holding up its inquiring chimneys and 
weathercocks, which might be espied 
across fields and pastures from the restless 
sea. That the surroundings of his home 
and its immediate neighbourhood made a 
deep impression upon him is evident from 


The Life of 

his poem on ' Bredfield House/ in which, 
when he was thirty years of age, he lovingly 
described his birthplace, and which is quoted 
in full further on. 

Mr. Purcell was the owner of considerable 
property, which was largely increased both 
in Ireland and in Suffolk by his marriage 
with his cousin Mary Frances Fitz-Gerald, 
an Irish heiress, who had in addition con- 
siderable personal attractions. Upon the 
death of her father in 1818 he took the 
name and arms of his wife's family. Mr. 
Purcell, who thus became Mr. Fitz-Gerald, 
was an Irish gentleman of social and agree- 
able disposition, much esteemed in private 
life, but of no brilliant parts. He amused 
himself in the ordinary jog-trot fashion of 
a country gentleman, sharing with Squire 
Jenny of Hasketon the cost of keeping 
a pack of harriers, and feeling himself 
honoured by being selected as High Sheriff 
of the county, and having a seat in the last 
unreformed Parliament for the Cinque 


Edward Fitz-Gerald 

Ports, a constituency which would be 
classed with pocket boroughs. 

We hear it sometimes said that talent 
comes on the mother's side. It is evident 
that Edward Fitz-Gerald did not inherit 
his ability from his father, though it must 
be admitted that his disposition was in 
many respects very different from that of 
his mother. She is said by one of her 
friends to have been a fine, handsome, 
clever, and eccentric woman, who in her 
London home was very fond of display 
in all her surroundings. That she was 
wanting in that parental love which warms 
a woman's heart at the sight of her children 
would appear from her son's statement, that 
when he was a child his mother sometimes 
came up to the nursery, ' but we children 
were not much comforted by her visit. No 
special gifts on the part of the mother are 
needed to make her children love her, and 
that such a sensitive child as Edward should 
thus feel her treatment in the nursery shows 


The Life of 

that she was deficient in tenderness and 
sympathy, and that the children had no 
assurance of her motherly love. 

A reviewer who knew Fitz-Gerald well 
says that 'the chief recollection he seems 
to have retained of his childhood was the 
rather terrible, if very splendid, figure of his 
mother, a great lady who seems to have had 
a great lady's temper/ 

That Edward himself was not wanting in 
tenderness is shown by the way in which 
he spoke of his old friend Major Moor, 
who used to take him by the hand when he 
was a small boy and lead him to church. 
Again, how anxiously he wrote inquiring 
about another favourite of his childhood — 
Squire Jenny — when the old gentleman 
was breaking up ! The delight he ex- 
perienced, as a child in the nursery, at 
seeing the hounds come across the lawn, 
with his father and Mr. Jenny in their 
hunting-caps and whips, often recurred to 
him in middle age. 


Edward Fitz-Gerald 

After the family went to live at Boulge 
Hall, his mother astonished the neighbour- 
hood by driving about the country in a 
coach with four black horses. She was 
extremely fond of theatrical amusements, 
was on the most intimate terms with Mrs. 
Charles Kemble, had a town house in Port- 
land Place, where she invariably resided in 
the London season, and retained a box 
at the Haymarket Theatre. Fitz-Gerald 
said that he had always heard that gout 
exempted one from many other miseries to 
which flesh was heir, and he illustrated this 
by stating that his mother suffered greatly 
from gout, and was kept awake at night by 
the pain ; but as her head was not affected, 
her reflections and recollections made the 
night pass away agreeably. 

Young Edward was initiated into French 
life and manners at an early age. When 
he was nine years old his father took his 
family to reside in France. They lived 
a short time at St. Germains, and after- 


The Life of 

wards removed to Paris. Few facts of his 
childhood and boyhood can be obtained, 
and nothing is known of the educational 
influences that were at work whilst he 
sojourned there. The editor of Fitz-Gerald's 
Letters, however, has thrown a side-light 
on the character of the boy by printing an 
extract from a letter written by his father 
to friends in England, in which he tells 
them that little Edward was full of fun, and 
fond of making droll speeches, early indica- 
tions of the humour which characterised his 
later days. French life and manners made 
a great and lasting impression on him ; and 
in declining years, when writing to a friend, 
he said, ' I shall like to hear a word about 
my dear old France, dear to me from child- 
ish associations.' 

In 1 82 1 Edward was sent to the Grammar 
School at Bury St. Edmunds, whither his 
brothers John and Peter had preceded him. 
This school, over which Dr. Malkin most 
successfully presided more than twenty years, 


Edward Fitz-Gerald 

had won a great reputation for scholarship. 
I know nothing of Fitz-Gerald's first im- 
pressions, but it does not appear that either 
he or his brothers attained particular dis- 
tinction in the school. Being a dreamy 
boy, he was no adept at games ; athletic 
exercises had no attractions for him, pas- 
times did not fall in with the peculiar bent 
of his mind. He was thus cut off from 
some of the roads to popularity in a public 
school, whilst his sensitive nature and shy 
disposition deprived him of companionship 
that he might otherwise have enjoyed. For 
all this, he had the attractive qualities upon 
which friendships are based. The common- 
place lacks that winning force which first 
elicits, and then retains confidence. Birds 
of a feather will flock together, but every- 
thing depends upon the ' feather ' ; for 
congenial tastes, when uninspired by genius, 
rarely mingle for any length of time. Fitz- 
Gerald found sympathetic natures amongst 
those by whom he was surrounded. Here 


The Life of 

was begun the nucleus of those affectionate 
alliances which became so conspicuous a 
feature in his career. James Spedding, 
the well-known apologist of Lord Bacon ; 
William Bodham Donne, who years after 
succeeded Kemble as Examiner of Plays ; 
William Airy, brother of the late Astrono- 
mer-Royal; and John Mitchell Kemble, who 
afterwards stood in the front rank of those 
who drew the attention of the world to the 
treasures] of Anglo-Saxon literature, — these 
were friends whose warmth of attachment 
was unaffected by lapse of time, or by 
the cooling tendency of engrossing occupa- 

One of his brothers, Peter, left some 
remembrances among his schoolfellows, by 
which it is evident that he exhibited, both 
in and out of school, eccentricities which 
in after-life more or less characterised the 
entire family. After the death of Peter in 
1875, Edward described him as an amiable 
gentleman with something helpless about 


Edward Fitz-Gerald 

him, what the Irish call an 'innocent man.' 
That this trait in his boyhood was constant 
may be inferred from the following record : 
— Peter Fitz-Gerald was one day brought 
before the master for misconduct out of 
school. When residing at Bredfield House, 
boy though he was, he had been sometimes 
allowed to drive his mother's four-in-hand, 
and when at school he greatly missed this 
diversion. To indulge this craving, he took 
to walking some five or six miles on the 
high-road till he met the London coach, 
when, by a previous arrangement with the 
coachman, he was allowed to have a box 
seat, to take the reins, and to drive into 
Bury St. Edmunds. His amateur driving 
was sometimes reckless, and, as may be in- 
ferred, was not agreeable to the passengers. 
As their appeals to the coachman failed, re- 
monstrances were made to the head-master, 
and it was stated that the passengers 
feared an accident. Dr. Malkin forbade 
Master Peter again to drive the coach, and 

1 1 

The Life of 

it was thought that his diversion in this parti- 
cular line was at an end. Not so, however. 
The young gentleman was not so easily- 
disconcerted. Subsequent representations 
were made to the Doctor, that Master 
Peter had been seen, in habiliments of 
woe, driving a hearse with four horses, 
carrying handsome plumes. To this remon- 
strance, the Doctor drily replied, ' I don't see 
that I need interfere unless the passenger 

Having gained something more than an 
elementary knowledge of Greek and Latin, 
the time was considered to have arrived 
for Fitz-Gerald to commence a University 
career, and in 1826 he was entered at Trinity 
College, Cambridge. Peacock, an excellent 
teacher, was public tutor on his side, the 
other College tutors being Whewell and 
Higman ; and Wordsworth, brother of the 
poet, was Master of Trinity. As to his 
College life, little is known beyond the fact 
that he was indolent, and spent his time in 


Edward Fitz-Gerald 

amusing himself rather than in pursuing 
regular studies. He exhibited no ambition 
for University distinction, and cared nothing 
for College honours. During his under- 
graduate career he increased his list of 
friends, and throughout life was better 
known for the friendships which he made 
whilst at Cambridge than for his efforts to 
obtain academic distinction. There it was 
that he first met Thackeray; W. H. Thomp- 
son, who succeeded Dr. Whewell in the 
Mastership of Trinity College ; and John 
Allen, afterwards Archdeacon of Salop. 
The three Tennysons were added to his 
group of friends, but not till after he left 
Cambridge. He saw Alfred Tennyson as 
an undergraduate, but had no knowledge 
of him. In a letter to Mrs. Richmond 
Ritchie in 1882, in answer to inquiries 
about the Poet Laureate, he says : ' I did 
not know him till my College days were 

His College life was passed almost as a 


The Life of 

holiday. His reading was discursive and 
sportive. Indulgences and impulses con- 
sumed the time that should have been given 
to systematic study ; and as a natural conse- 
quence, when examination was due he was 
not at all prepared for it. Ten years after- 
wards he lamented this want of application 
during his residence at Cambridge. The 
editor of his Letters says that he passed 
through his University course in a leisurely 
manner, amusing himself with music, draw- 
ing, and poetry, and modestly went out in 
the poll in January 1830, after a period of 
suspense, during which he was apprehensive 
of not passing at all, though it does not 
appear that this would have caused him 
much distress. Thackeray, who was one 
of his greatest chums at Cambridge, was 
also extremely indolent, and left College 
without taking a degree ; but Allen, quite 
a bosom friend, was a student in the true 
sense of the term, and though heavily 
handicapped by the death of his father 

Edward Fitz-Gerald 

two or three days before the examination, 
came out very creditably among the Senior 

Cambridge life at the time Fitz-Gerald 
entered the University was very different 
from what it is now. There was no pleasant 
intercourse between professor and students ; 
to all appearance a great gulf divided them. 
Tennyson, speaking of his undergraduate 
days, says that the studies of the University 
were uninteresting, and ' none but dry- 
headed, calculating, angular little gentlemen 
can take delight in them. The dinners in 
Hall at Trinity at the undergraduates' tables 
were badly managed. The joints were put 
on the table to be hacked at by young men 
who knew nothing of carving,' * and the 
waiting was altogether insufficient for com- 
fort. Sometimes three or four of the under- 
graduates would agree to have a quiet dinner 
in the rooms of one of them, each contribut- 
ing, picnic-fashion, a share of the bill of 

1 Pollock's Personal Remembrances. 

The Life of 

fare. This was much more enjoyable, but 
in getting dinners from the kitchen they 
were at times seen by one or more of the 
Dons, and this led to unpleasantness the 
following day. Athletics, in the sense in 
which the term is now used, were unknown, 
and boating on the river was almost the 
only exercise adopted. Many of the rowing 
men regularly appeared in tattered gowns 
and crushed caps, with green cut-away 
coats and red neckerchiefs, and some of 
the students took long walks in the country 
as 'constitutionals.' 

The undergraduates met in one or 
another's rooms almost every evening, at 
which gatherings much coffee was drunk, 
much tobacco smoked, and discussion on 
a variety of subjects pursued. In the Life 
of Archdeacon Allen mention is made of 
these meetings, and of the fun indulged in 
among the friends of his circle, which in- 
cluded Fitz- Gerald, Spedding, and Thack- 
eray. Fitz-Gerald was all frolic, scattering 


Edward Fitz-Gerald 

his smart sayings about with the greatest 
freedom. Thackeray, with his sarcasm and 
his wit, was equally striking, though more 
sedate in his delivery, whilst Spedding was 
ofttimes anxious to discuss critical points 
in the writings of Bacon or Shakespeare. 

The writer in the Edinburgh Review 
(1894) when referring to Fitz - Gerald's 
friends and College chums says : ' Cambridge 
has not produced in this century their 
equals. None of them, indeed, played that 
conspicuous part in public life which dis- 
tinguished their more ambitious Oxford con- 
temporaries, but they were all men of the 
highest literary culture, of refined taste and 
originality/ And Lord Houghton, speaking 
in 1866 at the opening of the 'New Cam- 
bridge Union' of the men who were friends 
and associates of Fitz-Gerald and Tennyson, 
said : ' I am inclined to believe that the 
members of that generation were, for the 
wealth of their promise, a rare body of men, 
such as this University has seldom contained.' 

B 17 

The Life of 

In addition to those I have named, the 
men at Cambridge with whom he was on 
intimate terms included Trench (afterwards 
Archbishop of Dublin), Alford (afterwards 
Dean of Canterbury), Merivale (afterwards 
Dean of Ely), Blakesley (afterwards Dean of 
Lincoln), Charles Buller, Spring, Rice, and 
others, the mention of whose names is suffi- 
cient to show that Fitz-Gerald's friends at 
the University were among those who dis- 
tinguished themselves in the world of litera- 
ture. If a man is known by the company 
he keeps, Fitz-Gerald's place among con- 
temporaries speaks for itself. 

Leaving Cambridge and the friends of 
his undergraduate days, he entered into that 
conventional circle which certainly did not 
feel the want of a man who disregarded its 
manners, defied many of its customs, and 
was full of Utopian ideas. For a time he 
stayed with his brother-in-law, Mr. Kerrich 
of Geldeston Hall, near Beccles ; and from 
his frequent visits there at later periods, 


Edward Fitz-Gerald 

this was evidently a favourite retreat in 
which to enjoy his free-and-easy life. After 
a few months he went to Paris on a visit to 
his aunt Miss Purcell, where Thackeray 
joined him. We have seen that Thackeray 
was one of Fitz-Gerald's College chums — 
one whose affections clung to him at Cam- 
bridge, and for years after. He was two 
years younger than Fitz-Gerald, but quitted 
College in the same year. Behind him he 
left a reputation for burlesque verses and 
impromptu pen-and-ink sketches of the 
Hogarth kind rather than for hard study. 
The pair had lounged about London for a 
time, and Fitz-Gerald had not been long in 
Paris before Thackeray made his appear- 
ance, having, he said, resolved to become 
an artist. To qualify himself for his in- 
tended profession he commenced copying 
pictures in the Louvre, Fitz-Gerald being 
his companion ; but he was constitutionally 
idle, and his friend was too indolent to urge 
him to 'improve the shining hour. The 


The Life of 

result was that though his sketches, when 
he begun to work for himself, were clever, 
he never became proficient in drawing the 
human figure. 

Fitz-Gerald wrote to Allen telling him of 
the pictures and statues, and expressing a 
wish that he would come and join them. 
He adds : ' You must know I am going to 
become a great bear, and have got all sorts 
of Utopian ideas in my head about society.' 

Coming back to England, Fitz-Gerald for 
several weeks made Southampton his head- 
quarters, in order that he might pay a few 
flying visits to some College friends, and 
went to Salisbury, ostensibly to see the 
Cathedral, but really to make a pilgrimage 
to Bemerton — George Herbert's home. 

Before the end of the year he went to 
Northamptonshire, staying for a time in 
the village of Naseby, where his father had 
an estate which included the very field in 
which a crushing defeat broke the hopes 
of Charles i. This retreat interested him 


Edward Fitz-Gerald 

much. He settled down in * a nice farm- 
house,' and wrote to Allen, 'Can't you 
come? I am quite the king here, I pro- 
mise you.' One day he dines with the 
estate carpenter, 'whose daughter plays on 
the pianoforte. My blue surtout daily 

does wonders. At church its effect is truly 

Allen left Cambridge in 1832, and soon 
after went to stay with relatives in a country 
house called Freestone, a few miles from 
Tenby. A short time only elapsed before 
Fitz-Gerald received an invitation to visit 
him, and to this he very readily responded, 
and journeyed to Tenby, in which little 
seaport town he took lodgings. The two 
friends felt as if they could not bear separa- 
tion ; they were like schoolboys in their 
delight in each other's company. They 
walked daily to meet one another on the 
road, and wandered among the rocks 
and along the coast, or enjoyed the most 
friendly hospitality at Freestone, extended 


The Life of 

over several weeks in the summer and 
autumn of that year. Fitz-Gerald always 
looked back with delight to this outing, 
which formed a series of red-letter days 
in his calendar. 

Returning to London, he moved about 
amongst divers booksellers' shops, and 
bought Bacon's Essays, Brown's Religio 
Medici, etc., to add to his collection, which 
had stood still of late. He also hunted 
for an ancient drinking-cup, which he might 
use 'when I am in my house in quality 
of housekeeper.' Thackeray dropped in, 
and helped to drive away his blue devils, 
but the satirist was very soon off again to 
Devonshire. One of Fitz-Gerald's sisters 
was with him in London, and they trudged 
about to see its sights. In the following 
year he took lodgings in Bloomsbury, and 
was a frequent visitor to the British Museum. 
He spent the May term of 1834 at Cam- 
bridge, * rejoicing in the sunshine of James 
Spedding's presence,' and thence he jour- 


Edward Fitz-Gerald 

neyed to the residence of his father, Wher- 
stead Lodge, near Ipswich. 

This Wherstead Lodge, a charming resi- 
dence on the west side of the Orwell, and 
about two miles from Ipswich, had been 
occupied by Mr. Fitz-Gerald for several 
years. The mansion, which commands 
delightful views of the river and the sur- 
rounding country, was built by Sir Robert 
Harland towards the end of the last century. 
Externally it lacks architectural pretensions, 
but the hall and staircase are both imposing, 
the effect being heightened by a splendid 
collection of pictures, which include a large 
number of valuable portraits from the easels 
of Zucchero, Hogarth, Cosway, Sir Godfrey 
Kneller, Sir Peter Lely, and Sir Joshua 
Reynolds. In the hall was the last of the 
six very elaborately adorned chairs of ebony 
profusely inlaid with ivory, which the Nabob 
of Arcot in 1772 gave to Lady Harland; 
the other five were sold to George iv. for 
his pavilion at Brighton. Prior to Mr. Fitz- 


The Life of 

Gerald's occupation of Wherstead Lodge, 
it was let to Lord Granville for ^iooo a 
year with the shooting ; and during his 
lordship's tenancy some of the most eminent 
nobles, statesmen, courtiers, and financial 
princes of his era were among the visitors. 
The church stands in the park, and the 
churchyard, which is nearly one hundred 
feet above the level of the river, commands 
without exception a view of the most beauti- 
ful piece of scenery in the eastern counties. 
At high water the Orwell from this point 
has more the appearance of a long lake 
than a river ; and the woods of the neigh- 
bouring parks, falling one into the other 
in almost unbroken line, catch the eye and 
appeal to the imagination. 

Mr. Fitz-Gerald's occupancy of such a 
house for many years was a guarantee of 
his wealth ; and it will readily be supposed 
that his son Edward would be delighted 
by its contents and the charms of the 
scenery. Writing from Wherstead in the 


Edward Fitz-Gerald 

summer of 1834, he boasts of brave health, 
of being an early riser, and useful as a 
pruner of roses. To him the spot was a 
paradise ; and he writes to Allen, ' All our 
family, except my mother, are collected 
here, all my brothers and sisters, with their 
wives, husbands, and children sitting at 
different occupations, or wandering about 
the grounds and gardens, discoursing each 
their separate concerns, but all united into 
one whole.' This gathering of the family 
seems to have been a prelude to Mr. Fitz- 
Gerald's leaving Wherstead Lodge, as 
Edward writes to Thackeray, who was 
then in Paris, ' My father is determined to 
inhabit Boulge Hall, an empty house of 
his, about fourteen miles off, and we are 
very sorry to leave this really beautiful 
place.' Edward mentions that he is likely 
to remain in Suffolk all the winter, because 
two of his sisters are to inhabit alone the 
old mansion to which they were removing, 
and he intended to keep them company. 


The Life of 

His days at Wherstead were full of pleasant 
memories, to which he frequently referred, 
and he and his sisters left that favoured 
spot with keen regret. 

In the early part of 1835 he went to 
Cumberland and spent a few weeks at 
Mirehouse on Bassenthwaite Lake, the 
home of his dear friend James Spedding, 
the pleasure of the visit being greatly en- 
hanced by finding Alfred Tennyson also 
a guest. At what date, or under what cir- 
cumstances, Fitz-Gerald became acquainted 
with Tennyson, I know not. Waugh in 
his Life of Tennyson says that the poet 
and Fitz-Gerald became friends in 1835. 
Upon what authority this statement is made 
does not appear. The present Lord Tenny- 
son, writing to me, says, ' I know not when 
Fitz-Gerald and my father first met.' It 
is therefore probable that Spedding as a 
mutual friend was the medium of introduc- 
tion. In a letter written in May 1835 to 
John Allen, Fitz-Gerald simply says, ' Alfred 


Edward Fitz-Gerald 

Tennyson stayed with me in Cumberland.' 
This shows that they were known to each 
other before that period. Writing to W. B. 
Donne, he says, ' Tennyson has been in 
town for some time ; he has been making 
fresh poems, which are finer they say than 
anything he has done.' May we not infer 
that he had already made acquaintance 
with the poet? At any rate, the visit to 
the Lakes firmly cemented a friendship which 
was lifelong, and Alfred Tennyson hence- 
forth became one of those friends to whom 
Fitz-Gerald was knit as to a brother. 

Spedding's father, who was a fine example 
of a north-country gentleman, farmed a 
great portion of his own estate, and the 
property was said to have much increased 
in value from his judicious management. 
Early hours were kept, and the elder Sped- 
ding mounted his cob after breakfast, and 
was about his farm till dinner at two. 
There was a serious tea after dinner, which 
was the great time for talk and discussion. 


The Life of 

After tea the father ' sat reading by a shaded 
lamp, saying very little, but always cour- 
teous, and quite content with any company 
his son might bring to the house, so long as 
they let him go his way, which indeed he 
would have gone whether they let him or 
no. But he had seen enough of poets not 
to like them or their trade — Shelley for a 
time living among the Lakes, Coleridge at 
Southey's (whom perhaps he had a respect 
for), and Wordsworth, whom I don't think 
he valued. He was rather jealous of " Jem," 
who might have done available service in 
the world, he thought, instead of giving 
himself up to such dreamers, and sitting up 
with Tennyson and Fitz-Gerald at night, 
when all the house was mute, conning over 
the "Morte d'Arthur," "Dora," "Lord of 
Burleigh," and other poems, which helped 
to make up the two volumes of 1842. So 
I always associate that Arthur Idyll with 
Bassenthwaite Lake under Skiddaw. Mrs. 
Spedding was a sensible motherly lady with 


Edward Fitz-Gerald 

whom I used to play chess of an evening. 
And there was an old friend of hers, Mrs. 
Bristow, who always reminded me of Miss 
La Creevy, if you know of such a person in 
Nickleby: 1 

At this house Fitz-Gerald was very 
happy. He and his companions rambled 
about without definite aim. Sometimes 
they strolled into the woods in the neigh- 
bourhood of Mirehouse ; sometimes they 
had a boat on the lake. There was always 
something to attract them ; the soft luxuri- 
ance of the scenery was an ever-abiding 
source of delight. Fertile imaginations in 
such surroundings are never at a loss for 
objects to admire ; their enchantments mul- 
tiply ; charm follows charm ; nature is ex- 
haustless in its varying moods ; the poetic 
fancy revels in the riches spread out before 
it, and to such the barren field would be 
clothed with beauty of its own. At the end 
of May the party went to lodge for a week 

1 Fitz- Gerald's Letters to Fanny Kemble. 

The Life of 

at Windermere, where Spedding had to 
leave them ; whilst there Wordsworth's new 
volume of Yarrow Revisited came to hand. 
Wordsworth was then at home ; but Fitz- 
Gerald says : ' Tennyson would not go to 
visit him, and, of course, I did not, nor even 
saw him.' 1 Spedding, speaking of this visit 
to the Lake country in a letter to Thompson, 
said : ' I could not get Alfred to Rydal 
Mount. He would, and would not (sulky 
one), although Wordsworth was hospitably 
inclined towards him.' Lord Tennyson in 
his Biography of the Poet Latti-eate, alluding 
to this statement of Spedding's, says that 
his father did not like to intrude himself on 
the great man at Rydal. Spedding, in the 
letter just quoted, said : ' I think Tennyson 
took in more pleasure and inspiration in this 
visit to the Lakes than any one would have 
supposed who did not know his own almost 
personal dislike of the present, whatever 
that may be.' 

1 Fitz-Gerald's Letters to Fanny Kemble. 

Edward Fitz-Gerald 

By no one were the beauties of the Lake 
district more exquisitely enjoyed than by 
Fitz-Gerald ; and this visit served the double 
purpose of drawing out his heart to external 
charms, which, although unemotional in 
themselves, excited boundless joys in him- 
self, and of deepening and cementing his 
acquaintance with Tennyson. The love of 
nature and the love of a friend could not 
have been more happily combined. When 
relating their rambles in a letter of this date 
to his friend Allen, he says : ' I will say no 
more of Tennyson than that the more I have 
seen of him, the more cause I have to think 
him great. His little humours and grumpi- 
ness were so droll, that I was always laugh- 
ing. I felt what Charles Lamb described a 
sense of depression at times, from the over- 
shadowing of a so much more lofty intellect 
than my own. Perhaps I have received 
some benefit in the now more distinct con- 
sciousness of my own dwarfishness.' This 
pouring out his own secrets shows that his 


The Life of 

friendship with Allen was unique. Between 
the two there was an ideal bond of sympathy 
and affection. Such a tie must have bound 
Cicero to his friend Scipio, and knit the 
soul of David and Jonathan. Friendship of 
this sort has been defined as one soul in two 

For two or three years Fitz- Gerald seems 
to have flitted from place to place. In the 
spring of 1839 he was at Geldestone, where 
he lived, as he said, in a very seedy manner. 
Geldestone Hall was Liberty Hall to him ; 
he could come and go as he liked ; and at 
night after supper could retire to the kitchen 
to read Harrington's Oceana and smoke 
until midnight. 

Later in the year he was in the land of 
John Bunyan, spending time with his friend 
Browne at Bedford. The acquaintance 
with this gentleman began in a boarding- 
house at Tenby some years previous, and 
was kept up with mutual interest, though 
those that knew the two men could scarcely 


Edward Fitz-Gerald 

suppose that there was much in common 
between them : Fitz-Gerald, a man thor- 
oughly fond of books, a master of several 
languages, a recluse by habit, and totally 
averse to taking any part even in his duties 
as a citizen : Browne, on the other hand, a 
man in the full enjoyment of life, quick to 
love and quick to fight, a business man, who 
became an officer in the militia, and joined 
heartily in the political battles of the town 
of Bedford, who was elected member of the 
Corporate Body, and was moreover so keen 
a sportsman that his friend declared he was 
more intent on the first of September than 
on anything else in the world. Fitz-Gerald 
paid him an annual visit, invited him to stay 
at Lowestoft, and took him as companion 
on one of his visits to his uncle in Ireland. 
When at Bedford the friends went fishing, 
and after their day's enjoyment had tea at a 
roadside inn, as Fitz-Gerald preferred taking 
apartments to staying at his friend's house. 
During these outings he took a drawing- 

c 33 

The Life of 

book and a colour-box with him to make 
sketches of the quiet scenery on the banks 
of the Ouse. 

Mr. Browne's marriage to a wealthy lady 
greatly concerned Fitz-Gerald, who ex- 
pressed a hope that his friend would not 
be defiled by the filthy pitch. 

That his shyness passed away in those 
early days whenever he was with staunch 
friends is evident from anecdotes which 
now and then find their way into print. 
The year of the Queen's Coronation (1838) 
was very loyally celebrated by a small 
coterie of Cambridge men, consisting of 
Fitz-Gerald, Spedding, Douglas Heath, and 
W. F. Pollock (son of Sir Frederick Pollock), 
at Kitlands, close to Leith Hill in Surrey, 
where Sergeant Heath had built a charming 
house and laid out some lovely grounds. 
Douglas Heath was a private tutor at 
Trinity College, Pollock was one of his 
pupils, probably Spedding and Fitz-Gerald 
bore the same relation, and hence they were 


Edward Fitz-Gerald 

invited to form the party which went down 
to Kitlands the evening before. In the 
early part of the afternoon on the 28th of 
June, a beautiful warm day, the four were 
assembled on the edges of a long, open bath 
which lay in the garden, surrounded by 
thick bushes, a most tempting spot for the 
purpose. As the hour for placing the 
crown on the Queen's head in Westminster 
Abbey approached, they made ready for a 
plunge ; and when the sound of the distant 
cannon reached them, all took headers into 
the water and swam about singing ' God 
save the Queen.' 1 Those who knew Fitz- 
Gerald late in life would never have sup- 
posed that the eccentric recluse of Wood- 
bridge, who sometimes brusquely declined 
to see a friend, would have joined in such 
rollicking capers even at the most skittish 
time of life, or in connection with a rare 
incident of national interest. 

At the period at which I have now 

1 Sir F. Pollock's Personal Remembrances. 


The Life of 

arrived Fitz-Gerald made a new acquaint- 
ance, which, like those formed at school 
and at the University, was lifelong. Mr. 
Samuel Laurence, an artist residing in 
London, was introduced to Fitz-Gerald by 
his friend Spedding as an artist of ability, 
and of worth as a man. After a friendship 
of more than forty years, Fitz-Gerald could 
say that he had proved the truth of these 
testimonies, and the last letter which he is 
known to have penned was sent to Samuel 
Laurence. I give here a copy of his first 
letter to that gentleman : — 

' Sept. ioth, '38. Boulge Hall. 

' Dear Sir, — William Browne, whose 
face you will remember, wishes to see John 
Allen's portrait. He could, I know, have 
accomplished this without any introductory 
letter from me, but I am glad of the oppor- 
tunity of saying a few words to you. I 
assure you, I have thought with very much 
pleasure, and a very many times, of the new 


Edward Fitz-Gerald 

acquaintance I have made with you ; and it 
is with some such hope that it may not die 
away, that I am tempted to send you these 
few lines. When I shall be in London 
again I cannot say, but I conclude before 
much time has elapsed. I have been spend- 
ing all this summer with this identical W. 
Browne, and sorry I am to part with him. 
We have been fishing, and travelling about 
in a gig as happy as needs be. I should 
like to hear that you had been getting the 
fresh air in some such holiday-making, for 
I cannot but think both eye and hand and 
the directing mind require some such relaxa- 
tion. All these lose their best impulses by 
being used too slavishly. But all this you 
knew before. 

' I have still a vision of Rome floating 
before me, and something tells me that if 
I don't go this winter I never shall. And 
yet what between my own indecision, and 
a few cross casualties, I am sure I shall 
not accomplish it. I have seen two cartoons 


The Life of 

said to be by Raffaelle : one of the well- 
known vision of Ezekiel ; the other of a 
Holy Family, both at a place of the Duke 
of Buccleuch in Northamptonshire. I did 
not know whether to think them original 
or not. I suppose a visit to Rome, or an 
exact technical knowledge of pictures, is 
very essential. I am sure I can understand 
the finest part of pictures without doing 

' I sincerely wish you health and all good 
things, and am yours very truly, 

' E. Fitz-Gerald.' 

Fitz- Gerald was fond of art, had a fair 
knowledge of pictures by the Old Masters, 
as well as of the English School, and oft- 
times tried his hand at sketching. In the 
Life of Lord Tennyson by his son there 
is an engraving from a chalk drawing by 
Fitz-Gerald, showing a back view of Alfred 
Tennyson's head and shoulders, taken when 
he and Fitz-Gerald were on a visit to James 


Edward Fitz-Gerald 

Spedding at his Cumberland home. When 
at Naseby, and also when with his friend 
Browne at Bedford, Fitz-Gerald spent part 
of his time in making water-colour sketches, 
which he said, in writing to Laurence, ' will 
make you throw down your brush in despair.' 
An artist who was clever and thoroughly 
honest was just such a friend as Fitz-Gerald 
really wanted ; and as I have stated, one of 
his firmest friendships followed his acquaint- 
ance with Laurence. Fitz-Gerald was a 
frequent correspondent, and complained at 
times that some of his friends did not reply 
so often as he wished. Laurence, on the 
contrary, was very prompt, and at short 
intervals he received inquiries and commis- 
sions. At one time he is requested to go to 
Colnaghi's and get a new lithographic print 
of a head of Dante, after a fresco by Giotti, 
lately discovered in Florence — the most 
wonderful head ever seen, Dante about 
twenty-seven years old. Later he is told 
1 to keep his eye on the little Titian ' which 


The Life of 

Fitz-Gerald wants to purchase of a London 
dealer, and said, ' I shall make the venture 
of borrowing £30 to invest in it : I may 
never be able to get a bit of Titian in my 
life again.' 

Generous to a fault, he was safe to pay 
for all trouble he occasioned, so that he took 
care to recommend his friend Laurence as 
a portrait-painter, and several commissions 
were the result. In October 1843 ne wrote 
to Laurence : ' I purpose to live the winter 
in Ipswich. You must come and see me 
at Christmas. I shall be able to get you 
a commission or two, for I am considered 
rather an authority in these parts.' This 
was one of the ideas which he did not 
carry out, as I never heard of his living 
in Ipswich, but he frequently gave commis- 
sions to the artist himself. He was always 
anxious to have portraits of his dearest 
friends hanging on the walls of his home. 
That of Lord Tennyson, which forms the 
frontispiece to the Life by his son, was 


Edward Fitz-Gerald 

painted by Laurence for Fitz-Gerald, as 
well as portraits of Archdeacon Allen, and 
of Thackeray. He wished for a portrait of 
his great favourite — the poet Crabbe ; and 
Pickersgill's portrait, in the possession of 
Crabbe's grandson, was borrowed for the 
purpose. It was suggested to him that 
a copy of Phillip's portrait would look well ; 
but his reply was, ' No — Phillip's portrait 
just represents what I least wanted — 
Crabbe's company look, whereas Pickersgill's 
represents the Thinker ! ' 

One of the peculiarities of his life was 
his adoption of a vegetarian diet, though 
the pleasures of the table were at no time 
any particular attraction to him. This 
peculiarity did not consist so much in his 
abstinence from a flesh diet as in the manner 
in which he carried out his scheme. He 
commenced this experiment about 1 833, when 
he was twenty-four years of age, a wrong 
time, as he said, to begin a change of that 
kind. Doubts and difficulties were pressed 


The Life of 

upon his notice by intimate friends, but he 
kept on, determined to give the system a 
fair trial. He was not in bondage to a beef- 
steak or a mutton-chop, and, as we know, 
was rather anxious than not to depart in 
some things from the ways of so-called good 
society. Loss of physical power for a time 
followed the experiment, but he did not get 
frightened by the suggestion that his strength 
was ebbing away. He persevered, upheld 
as he was by an almost fanatical notion that 
abstinence from a flesh diet would produce 
greater simplicity of life, and give the soul 
a strong command over the body. At the 
end of four months he acknowledged that he 
had found no benefit beyond more lightness 
of spirits. He lived chiefly on bread eaten 
with fruit, pears and apples being the chief 
articles of consumption, as he had no faith 
in green vegetables. To this kind of diet, 
with occasional exceptions, he adhered for 
the remainder of his life, and certainly main- 
tained a fair state of health. 


Edward Fitz-Gerald 

I have said that he occasionally broke 
through his vegetarian rule, and these ex- 
ceptions exhibit in a marked way the pecu- 
liarity of the man. During the early days 
of his experiment he attended a dinner- 
party and partook of meat. He was not 
seduced by roast partridge and bread sauce, 
but he did not like to look singular, and 
found it much easier to conform than to 
have the courage of his convictions. Late 
in life, ducks could be seen swimming in 
the small pond in the garden of his house 
at Woodbridge ; and when a friend dropped 
in to dine with him in summer-time, duck 
and green peas were brought to table for 
the friend, whilst Fitz-Gerald himself sat 
eating fruit, and discussed with him the 
literature of the day. If he stopped to 
supper at a friend's house (which, by the bye, 
was seldom), he did not object to partaking 
of a little fish, or fowl, or game. As far as 
principle was concerned, there was no ad- 
herence to vegetarianism. As presents to 


The Life of 

a friend he did not hesitate to send a turkey 
or a brace of pheasants. In one letter he 
says, ' I have just written your name and 
address on a parchment label, which is to 
show a goose the way to your kitchen ' ; in 
another, ' I have bid them send you a small 
turkey, and some country sausages for 
garnish ' ; and in an early letter to Laurence 
he writes, ' I wish you were here to eat my 
turkey with me.' It is thus clear that he 
was a very accommodating vegetarian ; and 
when such friends as Lord Tennyson or 
W. F- Pollock were his visitors, he took 
care that they should be well provided for 
as to bed and board, regardless of expense, 
at the best hotel in Woodbridge. Still, in 
the main, for his own sustenance he was 
a vegetarian ; and three years before his 
death, when writing to Fanny Kemble, 
he said as to meals, ' tea, pure and simple, 
with bread-and-butter, is the only meal I 
do care to join in.' 


Edward Fitz-Gerald 


Fitz-Gerald's life, from the time he left 
College till he was nearly thirty years of age, 
was chiefly spent in rambling about the 
country with different friends, or in staying 
for short periods with his relatives ; but 
then, it seems, he grew tired of roaming, 
and longed for a home of his own. His 
father and family were living at Boulge 
Hall ; and in 1837 he gave indications to a 
friend that he was preparing to settle close 
by the Hall, and spoke of a small cottage 
which was just outside the park gates as a 
suitable residence. A few months later his 
ideas had developed, and he was living at 
the cottage, where he could say, ' I have my 
books, a barrel of beer, which I tap myself, 


The Life of 

and an old woman to do for me.' This 
village of Boulge, one of the smallest in 
Suffolk, is about two miles from Wood- 
bridge, and adjoins Bredfield, where Fitz- 
Gerald was born. 1 1 had only eight inhabited 
houses, and the residents, including those 
at the Hall, numbered fewer than fifty. 
Fitz-Gerald acknowledged that the village 
was one of the dullest places in England ; 
the principal objects of its landscape were 
pollard trees, overlooking a flat country with 
regular hedges. 

If Fitz-Gerald trudged from the village 
to Woodbridge, he encountered no bustle 
to jar his nerves. He was strongly attached 
to this quiet little town, and had walked to 
it from Bredfield and Boulge so often, that 
every field and tree along the road was as 
familiar to him as were his books. When 
he first became acquainted with the physical 
aspects of Woodbridge, neither the lighting 
nor the paving of the town commanded the 
admiration of strangers. Gas was not in 


Edward Fitz-Gerald 

use ; puny oil lamps were few and far be- 
tween ; dingy lights in shop windows tended 
to make darkness more visible. The streets 
were lined with irregular but picturesque struc- 
tures, mixed with the trim built and uniform 
houses of modern times. Except on market 
days, the town might have been described 
as a very sleepy place, but on those days 
it woke up, and for a few hours was full of 
activity. It seemed as if all the squires and 
parsons, with their wives and daughters, 
for miles around gravitated thither. Their 
vehicles were known to every tradesman ; 
the parsons themselves appeared to know 
everybody. For Fitz-Gerald, who loved 
to be 'far from the madding crowd,' this 
town, within touch of his new abode, was 
a delight in many ways ; he was never tired 
of expressing his admiration of the river, on 
which he frequently enjoyed himself when 
bound for sea. 

His cottage was quaint-looking, of one 
story, with an unusually low-pitched thatched 


The Life of 

roof. It was never celebrated for accom- 
modation, and remains much as it was 
half a century ago. In the centre is a 
door and passage, with a room on each 
side, used by him as parlour and bedroom. 
He said that ' the walls were as thin as a 
sixpence ; its windows were difficult to shut. 
There were no eave-troughs to carry off 
the water, and as it stood on clay soil, the 
house was damp. It will not excite surprise 
to find that in such a tenement he had 
three attacks of influenza. Here he resided 
twelve or fourteen years, having little to 
divert him in the outside world beside geese 
in the meadow, the butcher's boy rattling 
along with his cart as if it were a question 
of life and death, and the washerwoman 
trundling her weary load. Still he had a 
strong liking for this doleful place, and 
did something towards giving a cosy and 
domestic look to its interior. The walls of 
the two rooms were papered with a still 
green to suit his pictures, his books were on 

4 8 

Edward Fitz-Gerald 

ranges of shelves, a charming engraving of 
Stothard's ' Canterbury Pilgrims ' hung over 
the fireplace, a bust of Shakespeare was in 
a recess. He delighted to see these things ; 
and after his homely dinner it was his 
custom to read and smoke by the fire with 
a dog on the hearthrug, his love of animals 
and his own contentment being typified by 
his unconscious caress of a sleeping cat, 
curled up on a chair beside him. In the 
kitchen was an old woman who superin- 
tended his household ; and, after a visit to 
London, the return to this primitive country 
house was one of his greatest pleasures. 

It must not be thought from this descrip- 
tion that Fitz-Gerald was an adept at 
methodical arrangement in a house. Every 
one who knew this genius would scout such 
an idea. Even a cursory peep into the room 
was enough to show that disorder was a 
conspicuous feature. Some of the book- 
shelves extended from the floor nearly to 
the ceiling. Quartos and octavos were 
d 49 

The Life of 

ranged side by side ; but as the shelves 
would not contain all his precious books, 
the floor was made use of, and large volumes 
were heaped together in confusion. The 
air of the room, though strongly impreg- 
nated with the scent of tobacco, was musty, 
as he objected to cleaning, and would not 
have the books dusted ; his old woman, he 
said, would put them back in what she 
called orderly fashion, and it would be 
weeks before he knew where to find what 
he wanted. It may easily be imagined 
that in such a room accommodation for 
visitors was not always to be found ; they 
had ofttimes to be content with the ledge of 
a bookshelf; and so taken up were the chairs 
by pictures and books, that the master of 
the house himself had apparently to take 
his meals standing. This congested condi- 
tion might have been partly avoided by 
driving a few nails in the walls and re- 
arranging the furniture, but the occupant 
was not handy at any mechanical turn. If 


Edward Fitz-Gerald 

he tried to knock in a nail, his fingers were 
likely to receive the blow. He gave up 
shaving himself, as he drew blood frequently, 
and engaged a Woodbridge man, who was 
both letter-carrier and barber, to perform 
the operation for him three times a week. 

That this sketch is not at all overdrawn 
will be seen by the following letter from a 
lady who knew him well. She says : — 

1 My father drove my mother and myself 
as a child in his gig one summer's evening 
to Boulge. Fitz-Gerald then occupied the 
cottage at the Hall gates. It was a bunga- 
low thatched. The chaos of the room is 
vividly in my mind. Large pictures stand- 
ing against the walls. Portrait on an easel, 
books, boots, sticks, music scattered about 
on tables, chairs, and floor. An open piano 
with music, lumber everywhere, so that 
there was a difficulty in emptying a chair 
for my mother to sit on. He himself had 
let us in, in dressing-gown and slippers.' 

In connection with his life at the cottage, 


The Life of 

it may be mentioned that although Fitz- 
Gerald was not enamoured with the Service 
of the Church of England, or that of any 
other sect, he in early life ofttimes attended 
the parish church on Sundays in conformity 
with custom. When he left his cottage to 
stay a week or two with his father and 
mother at the Hall, he invariably went to 
church with the family party. Service began 
at half-past ten, and when his visit was in 
cold weather he wrapped himself up in a 
greatcoat to keep out the damp, as he said 
toadstools grew round the Communion 

It was about this time that there crossed 
the path of Fitz-Gerald a man who, for the 
next twenty years, shed a happy influence 
on his life. This was the Rev. George 
Crabbe, eldest son and biographer of the 
very poet whom Fitz-Gerald almost idol- 
ised. This gentleman was presented to the 
vicarage of the adjoining parish of Bred- 
field ; and between the two men, who had 


Edward Fitz-Gerald 

much in common (both being haters of 
shams and of some of the conventionalities 
of society), a friendship sprang up which 
was a great blessing to both of them, and 
only terminated by the death of Mr. Crabbe. 
Fitz-Gerald always spoke of this friend as 
a capital fellow, who, with 'manhood's 
energy of mind and great bodily strength, 
united the boy's heart, and was as much a 
boy at seventy as boys need be at seven- 
teen. He was careless of riches, intolerant 
of injustice and oppression, and incapable 
of all that is base, little, or mean.' Mr. 
Crabbe was very like his father in features, 
but detested poetry. This feeling was so 
strong that he had actually never read all his 
fathers poems till a few years before his 
death, when Fitz-Gerald induced him to do 
so. He was old-fashioned in his notions ; 
and when Dr. Whewell's book on the 
Plurality of Worlds was published, he read 
it with avidity, but 'most indignantly re- 
jected the doctrine as unworthy of God.' 


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Boulge Cottage was about a mile from 
Bredfield Vicarage, and Fitz-Gerald fre- 
quently lighted a lantern about seven in the 
evening of a winter's night and trudged 
through the mud to spend a few hours with 
the parson. Sometimes he stopped the 
night, when they discussed Paley's Theology, 
or exchanged views upon the then burning 
Gorham question. Music was one of the 
elements of their union ; and with the help 
of the vicar's son and daughter, Fitz-Gerald 
was ambitious enough to try Handel's 
Coronation Anthems, though he admitted 
they had not a voice among them. Occa- 
sionally, before starting homeward with his 
lantern, he would play one of Handel's 
Overtures, and then join in glees. On 
New Year's Eve he would walk over to 
Bredfield to sit with his friend and smoke out 
the Old Year. Sometimes the parson might 
be seen with a cigar in his mouth, wending 
his way to the cottage for a gossip. The 
home of each was perfectly open to the other. 


Edward Fitz-Gerald 

In the autumn of 1857 this friendship 
was dissolved. Crabbe died from an epi- 
leptic fit ; and Fitz-Gerald, who was away 
in Bedfordshire, hurried back to attend 
the funeral. It was sad enough under such 
circumstances to revisit the house in which 
he had spent so many enjoyable hours. 
The dear friend who had so often welcomed 
him now lay cold in his coffin. Death 
having been sudden, the room smelt strongly 
of tobacco, and the last cheroot he had tried 
lay three-quarters burnt in its little china 
ashpan. This and a silver nutmeg grater, 
which had often been used during their 
evening gossips, Fitz-Gerald took and cher- 
ished as relics of his departed friend. 

During the life of Mr. Crabbe, Fitz- 
Gerald occasionally met two or three ac- 
quaintances at the vicar's table ; and after 
this he seemed desirous of imitating Charles 
Lamb by having a few friends to supper 
and sometimes to dinner at the ' Bungalow.' 
There was this difference, however, whilst 


The Life of 

Lamb had an open house one evening in 
the week, Fitz-Gerald's party were always 
invited, and usually consisted of Archdeacon 
Groome, Rev. George Crabbe, Bernard 
Barton, Francis Capper Brooke, Thomas 
Churchyard, or one or two others in 
place of them. These entertainments at 
the cottage were spoken of as hospitable 
but not comfortable, as Fitz-Gerald would 
not ring for his servant to come and help. 
But he was very pleased with the result of 
his gatherings. He told one friend that the 
guests who assembled round his table were 
looked upon as the chief wits of Wood- 
bridge, and one man had said to him that 
'he envied our conversations.' He clearly 
anticipated that these small gatherings would 
become opportunities for mental diversion, 
and so probably they did with such men as 
he got together. The very form of the 
invitation reminded you of the man : ' Won't 
ye come to me on Tuesday ? so-and-so will 
be here. Come if you can.' One who had 


Edward Fitz-Gerald 

been his guest says : ' When there you found 
yourself face to face with tried friends or 
chosen companions of him, who knew what 
cultured conversation meant, and gathered 
round his board those who had a kindred 
taste. And if at the head of the table there 
was a studied defiance of some of the little 
conventionalities which are supposed to make 
the wheels of society run smooth, if in dress 
or appliances there was something a little 
strange, none left the table without a feeling 
that he had been the guest of one who, 
disregarding the tinsel, thoroughly knew 
and practised the real refinement of an 
English gentleman.' As he enjoyed these 
gatherings, it shows that he was not then 
the hermit which he ultimately became. 

Fitz-Gerald made no pretence as a host. 
He enjoyed providing supper for his guests, 
but paid no regard to the niceties of house- 
keeping. His cottage home occupied but 
little of his attention ; domestic comfort 
scarcely troubled him ; he found the money, 


The Life of 

but his housekeeper spent it. In his own 
neighbourhood he was considered a re- 
cluse ; to the unlearned labourer he was 
a mystery. Many misunderstood him, and 
therefore could not make allowances for 
his idiosyncrasies, hence he frequently 
went away from home in search of the 
sympathy he craved. 

His simple and unpretending manners 
were little in sympathy with the conven- 
tional mode of living, hence he refrained 
from associating with county society. He 
was not the man to adopt the stiff and 
meaningless ceremony of paying and 
receiving calls, though to this rule, 
as to many others, he made exceptions. 
Fitz-Gerald had sometimes met Mr. Charles 
Austin of Brandeston Hall (the most suc- 
cessful leader of the Parliamentary Bar of 
his times) at the house of a mutual friend, 
Francis Capper Brooke of Ufford Place. 
When this gentleman married in 1856, 
Fitz-Gerald paid a visit of congratulation. 


Edward Fitz-Gerald 

Mr. and Mrs. Austin returned the call, but 
he was not at home, and thus the inter- 
change of visits between these two began 
and ended. 

Archdeacon Groome, who was rector of a 
village within a few miles of Woodbridge, 
was a lifelong friend of Fitz-Gerald's, and 
in many ways they were kindred spirits. 
He was a lover of music, a man of wide 
culture, who had read much but published 
little, a student of old English literature, 
and his acquaintance with early English 
mss. was such as to render him an authority 
to whom one could go with confidence. 
The humour of the dialect and folklore of 
the county was appreciated by nobody 
more than by himself, and what added to 
the pleasure of his company was his felicity 
in capping verses ; in this particular art he 
was, his son says, a master. 

Mr. Churchyard of Woodbridge was 
known in the district as 'lawyer Church- 
yard,' by his intimates as Tom Churchyard. 


The Life of 

He was clever in many ways, was a con- 
spicuous member of the legal profession, 
was a fluent speaker and persuasive pleader, 
an artist of no mean ability, and a well-read 
man. His professional work would have 
brought him affluence ; but his art, which he 
loved more, weakened his devotion to the 
law. A man cannot worship successfully at 
two shrines. The easel put the parchment 
in the shade ; he died poor, but was not 
neglected by Fitz-Gerald. 

Bernard Barton, a highly esteemed 
resident in Woodbridge, was generally 
known as the Quaker Poet. He was a 
clerk in Messrs. Alexander and Co.'s bank 
from 1810 till his death in 1849. His first 
volume of poems was issued in 18 12. This 
brought him into correspondence with 
Byron, Southey, Charles Lamb, Hogg 
the Ettrick Shepherd, and many others. 
He published many subsequent volumes, 
but the financial result was less satisfactory 
than that of a letter he sent to Sir Robert 


Edward Fitz-Gerald 

Peel on the income-tax, showing the way in 
which it unduly pressed upon a poor clerk's 
remuneration. Sir Robert was so pleased 
with this epistle, that he sent an invitation 
to the Quaker Poet to dine with him at 
Whitehall ; and before he retired from office, 
he recommended him to the Queen as a fit 
subject for an annual pension of ^ioo. 

There was much about Bernard Barton 
calculated to excite the admiration of every 
lover of humanity. As a Quaker he was 
thoroughly consistent, but of far too genial 
a nature to stickle for the peculiarities of the 
Friends, and could forget 'thee' and 'thou,' 
when conversing with the world's people. 
A well-marked feature of his character, 
which was the very antithesis of Quakerism, 
was his love of humour. He admired it in 
his reading, and had a fund of his own upon 
which he was continually drawing. Even 
in Scott's novels he relished humour more 
than pathos. With a strong memory, his 
power of illustration was so good, that his 


The Life of 

conversation was a perpetual feast ; lovers of 
literature were as much charmed by his 
abundant knowledge and felicity of expres- 
sion as by his geniality in the social circle. 

Some men in passing through life make 
many acquaintances, but few friends ; they 
lack the confiding faculty, and confidence 
is the soul of friendship. On the other 
hand, men of keen sensibilities and thought- 
ful character generally limit their friendships 
to a small circle, and give to the members 
who compose it a friendship of the most 
exclusive, intimate, and unreserved kind. 
This was the case with Fitz-Gerald. His 
friendship was more like love. The persons 
to whom he was drawn by a kind of 
magnetic attraction were his companions in 
school and college days ; and the confiding 
intimacies begun thus early caused each 
object of his regard to be pressed close to 
his heart, and embraced with a brother's 
love. His attachments were lifelong, and 
the friendships which intellectual habits and 


Edward Fitz-Gerald 

congeniality of disposition had helped to 
form defied all the vicissitudes of life, held 
good in all relations and conditions, and 
were for him not merely a soothing in- 
fluence, but his greatest source of happiness. 
Taking his life as a whole, there were only 
a few of what are familiarly known as bright 
spots, but each friendship was like a fertile 
oasis in the desert of his existence. The 
gleams of joy and hope which occasionally 
shone across his gloomy path were due to 
the attachments he had formed with a few 
great minds who thoroughly understood the 

Every now and then he journeyed to 
London, and it seemed as if Alfred Tenny- 
son was the one friend he was most anxious 
to meet. Between them there was a great 
spirit of kinship, identity of opinion, and 
similarity of taste. 

These visits to London sometimes ex- 
tended to three or four weeks. There was 
no railway from his home in those days ; 


The Life of 

and the journeys being to him rather for- 
midable, he took care to make the most of 
them, and tried to see all his friends. He 
was always delighted to get among his 
Cambridge associates, who kept pretty well 
in touch with each other in the metropolis. 
Allen and Thackeray were both living in 
London, Spedding had rooms in Lincoln's 
Inn Fields, and Tennyson, who resided with 
his mother in Epping Forest, frequently 
spent the evening in London. Their house 
of call was the Cock Tavern, Temple Bar ; 
and when with Spedding or Tennyson, the 
dinner consisted of a chop and pickle, cheese 
and stout, and a cigar or pipe. Spedding 
and Fitz- Gerald frequently paid a visit to 
the Royal Academy, or spent an evening 
at the theatre. But the greatest treats were 
the discussions in Spedding's room, in which 
the party sat up smoking till past midnight, 
when Tennyson, who was a good reciter, 
would be induced to give them some of 
'his magic music,' and then to bed. This 


Edward Fitz-Gerald 

was about the happiest period of Fitz- 
Gerald's life. 

At one of these meetings Fitz-Gerald's 
considerate thoughtful ness was a public ad- 
vantage. Tennyson sometimes brought ms. 
or proofs to submit to his friends. Fitz- 
Gerald says ' the poems published in two 
vols, in 1842 were nearly all written out in 
a foolscap folio parchment bound book such 
as accounts are kept in (only not ruled). 
I used to call it the butcher's book.' The 
poems were written in Tennyson's very fine 
hand towards one side of the large paper, 
the unoccupied edges and corners being 
often torn off for pipelights, care being 
taken to save the ms. These pages were 
one by one torn out for the printer, and 
when returned with the proofs were put 
on the fire. ' I reserved two or three of 
the leaves, and gave them to the library 
at Trinity College, Cambridge.' * 

At about this period, when writing to 

1 Tennyson's Life, vol. i. 
E 65 

The Life of 

Laurence of Tennyson, he says : ' I want 
to see him again ; if you see him, tell him 
that he must write me a line. Remind him 
of our dinners and quarrels at the Mitre, 
Greenwich, etc. Ask him if he will go to 
Blenheim with me.' 

A year or so after this he gave Laurence 
a commission to paint a portrait of Tenny- 
son, and says, ' I long for my old Alfred's 
portrait. Mind and paint him quickly when 
he comes to town, looking full at you.' 
Again to Laurence, ' I hear you have 
painted a very good sketch of A. T. Don't 
do any more to it; take this advice, you won't 
get the man to sit again easily.' When 
Laurence finished his work, Fitz-Gerald 
thought it the best portrait of Tennyson 
•at his best time, with a Johnsonian look 
in it somehow.' Some time after Tennyson's 
marriage, Fitz-Gerald lent this portrait to 
Mrs. Tennyson, and with her it remained 
until he went to Little Grange, where it 
occupied a prominent position on the walls. 


Edward Fitz-Gerald 

In 1876, however, he presented it to Mrs. 
Tennyson, not because he was tired of it, 
but because he thought it the best portrait 
of his friend he had seen. To Laurence 
he says, ' I have returned the portrait to 
Mrs. Tennyson ; for though Tennyson and 
his son would fain have had me keep it 
while I lived, I gathered that she missed 
it from the bedroom where it had once 
hung. If I had known of that before, I 
should of course have sent it to her 
sooner. Now that she is ill and much 
confined to her room, I would not detain 
it an hour. So it is gone.' 

If Fitz-Gerald was anxious to get into 
the company of Tennyson, the poet was no 
less delighted with the companionship of 
' Old Fitz.' In those early days Tennyson 
made a trip to Switzerland with Edward 
Moxon ; and after his return, he lost no 
time in writing to Fitz-Gerald, describing 
some of the beautiful spots he had visited 
and the scenes which had charmed him. 


The Life of 

He addressed him as 'My dear Fitz,' or 
' Dear old Fitz ; and after the publication 
of the ' Princess,' he wrote : — 

' Ain't I a beast for not answering you 
before ? A pint of pale ale and a chop are 
things yearned after not achievable except 
by way of lunch. However, this night I have 
sent an excuse to Mrs. Procter, and here I 
am alone, and wish you were with me. — 
Ever yours, A. Tennyson.' 

The opinions of the two friends on theo- 
logical questions were strongly in accord. 
They were liberals in theology, when up- 
holders of this kind of liberalism were less 
numerous than they are now. The man 
who penned the lines — 

' There lives more faith in honest doubt, 
Believe me, than in half the creeds,' 

was a long way removed from implicit 
belief in the summaries of many of the 
churches. Tennyson dreaded the dogma- 
tism of sects. Like Fitz-Gerald, he had 
a horror of the doctrine of eternal torment, 


Edward Fitz-Gerald 

and by this liberalism he was known the 
world over. When Bishop Colenso was 
in England in 1865, a party was got up 
at Oxford to meet him, to which Tennyson 
was invited, but could not attend. The 
Bishop, expressing his regret, remarked that 
he was one man he much wished to see, 
as he thought he was doing more than 
any other man to frame the church of the 

During one of his roaming expeditions 
in 1840, Fitz-Gerald wandered as far as 
Leamington, and there accidentally met 
Tennyson. The two friends had some 
very pleasant excursions together, going to 
the grand old castle of Kenilworth, which 
they found in a ruinous condition, and then 
to Warwick, where they were delighted by 
seeing so many quaint old houses, and some 
of the best architectural groups to be found 
in England. They visited the castle, and 
climbed the picturesque Guy's Tower, to 
have a good view of the surrounding country. 


The Life of 

The next day they made their way to 
Stratford-on-Avon, examined Shakespeare's 
house, and went into the room in which it is 
said the great dramatist was born. Every part 
of this room was scribbled over with names, 
English and American, peer and peasant. 
Tennyson, in a fit of enthusiasm, wrote his, 
though he felt a little ashamed of it after- 
wards ; but he said ' the feeling was genuine 
at the time, and I did homage with the 

In the summer of the following year 
Fitz-Gerald paid another visit to Naseby, 
enjoying himself for three or four weeks 
by having friendly chats with the farmers, 
whilst he consumed a quantity of tobacco. 
He took long walks over the fields and 
made himself well acquainted with the spot 
on which the battle of Naseby was fought. 
This over, his indolent habits had full play 
for a time. Apathy succeeded activity, and 
he declared that Naples would not please 
him more than Naseby. 


Edward Fitz-Gerald 

This fit of apathy extended longer than 
usual, and he writes, ' I am afraid I have 
behaved badly to Thackeray ; he asked me 
to go to Ireland with him, and I have 
scarce any reason to give why I should not, 
except one which he would not understand. 
At present, however, I refuse.' Later still, 
' Spedding asks me to Cumberland, and I 
have no reason but laziness for not going. 
But I have been to Ireland and done my 
duty of locomotion for a whole year. I 
have earned my release from the packing 
and unpacking of portmanteau till this time 
twelvemonths.' This reluctance to move 
is all the more strange, as not many weeks 
had passed since he had expressed a wish 
4 to go snipe-shooting with that literary shot 
James Spedding.' 

I have mentioned that another of Fitz- 
Gerald's College chums, John Allen, the 
future Archdeacon of Salop, had settled in 
London. Here was another attraction for 
an evening when he spent a few days in 


The Life of 

the metropolis. Allen was a remarkable 
man. He left Cambridge in 1832, was 
scjn after appointed mathematical lecturer 
at King's College, London, and in 1833 
was ordained chaplain to the College. So 
great was his reputation among those who 
had seen his work, that when he was only- 
twenty -six years of age the Bishop of 
Chichester nominated him as his examin- 
ing chaplain. In 1839 the Committee of 
Council of Education selected him as their 
first clerical Inspector of Schools, and seven 
years later he was made Archdeacon of 
Salop. Such was the career of him of 
whom Fitz-Gerald wrote, ' I owe more to 
Allen than to all others put together.' 
Bishop Lonsdale said of him, ' I have 
never known any man who feared God 
more and man less than Archdeacon Allen.' 
He united a strong sense of justice and 
personal responsibility with a disregard of 

Allen was full of zeal for the Church of 


Edward Fitz-Gerald 

England, but so liberal in his theology 
that he was always ready to work with 
men whose views were different from h.s 
own. He heard Edward Irving preac 1 
when he was astonishing the religious world 
of London, and for this notable man he 
ever retained great admiration and sincere 
respect ; he tenderly loved Frederick Deni- 
son Maurice, and became acquainted with 
Archdeacon (afterwards Cardinal) Manning, 
whose friendship, opposite as were their 
careers, he retained to the end. Allen was 
original and quaint, and had a unique 
simplicity and love of humour. These traits 
were so much in accord with Fitz-Gerald's 
opinions and feelings, that the two men 
soon became close friends ; and when Fitz- 
Gerald heard of Allen as Inspector of 
Schools, either rebuking a bishop or humiliat- 
ing a peer, he exclaimed, ' John Allen, I 
rejoice in you.' He commissioned Laurence 
the artist to paint a portrait of Allen 
in order that he might hang it in his 


The Life of 

room, and thus have his face always to 
look at. 

Allen married in 1834. His marriage 
was a very happy one. In his wife he 
found a real helpmate. That he needed 
somebody to look after him is evident from 
the fact that he lost the carpet bag con- 
taining his wedding garments when he went 
to be married, and at Bristol had to buy 
linen and dressing apparatus as well as 
some cloth for a pair of trousers, which were 
made for him the next day. 

Soon after the marriage, Fitz-Gerald wrote 
to him thus : — 

' Come, I don't believe that your marriage 
will make any great difference in you after 
all ; and when I meet you, I shall not be 
able to offend you by many loose and foolish 
things that I am accustomed to scatter about 
heedlessly when I meet you with others. 
I always repent me of having done so, but 
the joy of meeting you puts me into that 
tiptop merriment that makes me sin. If 


Edward Fitz-Gerald 

I only loved you half as well, my conversa- 
tion would be blameless to you. But 
you forgive me, and it is always sad 
to me to think that I shall never be 
able to sin and repent again in that 
fashion.' 1 

The year 1842 was memorable to Fitz- 
Gerald as that in which he made the 
acquaintance of Thomas Carlyle. It was 
not, like most of his long friendships, begun 
in his youthful days, and moreover, it was 
begun under disadvantages. Fitz-Gerald 
was not drawn to Chelsea through admira- 
tion of the man or his writings ; on the 
contrary, he spoke and wrote disparagingly 
of those works of Carlyle which he had 
read. The French Revolution came in for 
his condemnation, and Heroes and Hero 
Worship he described as a perfectly insane 
book. Two or three evenings spent in 
gossip about the battle of Naseby, drinking 
tea and smoking Carlyle's tobacco, dissipated 

1 Crier's Life of Archdeacon Allen. 


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this prejudice, and the two men eventually 
became fast friends. 

Carlyle was at this period engaged on his 
Letters of Cromwell \ and when preparing 
his sketch of the battle of Naseby, he, 
accompanied by Dr. Arnold of Rugby, 
surveyed the ground on which it was fought. 
An obelisk, erected in one of the fields to 
commemorate the battle, induced both to 
believe that it was placed there to indicate 
the centre of the battle. The farm which 
embraced these fields was the property of 
Fitz-Gerald's father, and the ground was 
well known to his son. In consequence of 
this Laurence the artist introduced Fitz- 
Gerald to Carlyle in order that he might 
describe the district. Having heard Carlyle 
read his description of the ground on which 
the battle was fought, he at once tried to 
show him that he had either deceived him- 
self, or been misled as to the exact spot on 
which Royalists and Puritans, in deadly 
rage, had a hand-to-hand fight over two 


Edward Fitz-Gerald 

hundred years ago. The Chelsea sage was 
incredulous, and not disposed to accept 
tradition against the evidence of his own 
eyes. Fitz-Gerald offered to go to Naseby 
and excavate. He did so, and had trenches 
dug half a mile away from the obelisk at a 
spot which tradition had always connected 
with the graves of the slain. An abundance 
of closely packed remains of human beings 
was found, some of the bones and teeth 
were sent to Chelsea, and Carlyle admitted 
that the evidence was against him. 

Carlyle was so pleased with Fitz-Gerald's 
earnest endeavour to set him right on this 
subject, and with the success which crowned 
his self-imposed labours, the cost of which 
he offered to share, that he was always glad 
to welcome the eccentric genius of Wood- 
bridge to his fireside. For a long time 
after this date, whenever Fitz-Gerald made 
a journey to London, he never failed to call 
at Carlyle's for a cup of tea and a smoke, 
the tobacco being usually enjoyed under an 


The Life of 

old pear-tree in the Chelsea garden. Some- 
times they adjourned to a room at the top of 
the house, where they sat with the window 
open smoking and discussing till near mid- 
night. Carlyle's stern dictum that mans 
business in this world is not to seek for 
happiness, but to stand where he is placed, 
and do his duty there, won Fitz-Gerald's 
cordial sympathy, and each learned to 
recognise what was sterling and magnani- 
mous in the other's nature. 

In the summer of 1843 Fitz-Gerald paid 
another visit to his uncle in Ireland, arriving 
in Dublin on a very hot day in the middle 
of July. The heat made him uncomfort- 
able, and he ordered a warm bath at the 
hotel. In a short time the waiter informed 
him that it was ready, the water being 
heated to 90°. Judge his dismay when he 
found it scalding hot, and that, to crown his 
vexation, he had blundered by allowing the 
man to lock him up in the room instead of 
his locking the waiter out ! 


Edward Fitz-Gerald 

After a week or two he went to stay with 
his brother Peter, who some ten years before 
had married a sister of his Aunt Purcell, 
and lived on a farm about three miles from 
his uncle's estate, the farm being managed 
by a steward. Whilst there he formed one 
of a picnic party to a place called Pool a 
Phoka — or the leap of the Golden Horse. 
This was about nine miles distant ; and the 
party, being rather numerous, travelled on 
horseback and in carriages, and at the end 
of the journey were regaled with a plentiful 
supply of cold veal-pies, champagne, etc. 
The beauty of the scenery was more to 
Fitz-Gerald's taste than veal - pie. The 
water came leaping and roaring through the 
clefts in the rock, thus forming the head of 
the river Liffy, into which the company 
dabbled, and splashed each other, the sun 
being hot enough to roast them. 

Fitz-Gerald wrote for his cousins at 
Halverstown a prologue to one of Cal- 
deron y s plays, and they used it for some 


The Life of 

private theatricals in their own house. He 
left a good impression behind him in Ire- 
land, and the cousin who wrote me says 
'he was a charming person, though a bit 

His journeys to London were still fre- 
quent, though he wrote that whilst there he 
* was sometimes nearly grilled ' by the heat. 
Frederick Tennyson, one of Fitz-Gerald's 
best correspondents and very dear friends, 
wrote, after being in Italy many years, that 
he was coming to England, and wanted to 
meet him in London. Fitz-Gerald re- 
sponded that he would be there at the time 
named, and pig in a garret for two months, 
in order that they might go to picture sales 
and buy bad pictures, though he had scarce 
any money left. This Frederick, a man of 
considerable ability, was Alfred Tennyson's 
eldest brother ; he took honours at Cam- 
bridge, among them the chancellor's medal. 
Like Fitz-Gerald, he was a great lover of 
music, and very eccentric. He lived near 


Edward Fitz-Gerald 

Florence, in a fine villa planned by Michael 
Angelo, and report says that he indulged 
his musical taste by ' sitting in his large hall 
in the midst of forty fiddlers.' 

Always anxious to aid Laurence, he 
obtained for him a commission to paint a 
portrait of his brother-in-law, the Rev. J. 
B. Wilkinson of Holbrook. When com- 
pleted, he wrote, ' The portrait of Wilkinson 
is capital, and gives my sister and all her 
neighbours great satisfaction. Mrs. Fitz- 
Gerald desired a copy of her son-in-law's 
portrait, and E. F. G. told Laurence that 
the copy must be slight and conventional. 
I am not insisting on what is right, but on 
what will, I know, only satisfy the person 
for whom you do the copy.' 

In 1847 he obtained another commission, 
and wrote to Laurence urging him to come 
to Woodbridge, as Miss Barton was anxious 
to have a portrait of her father. This had 
been talked of for some time ; and as 
Bernard Barton was now sixty-three years 

F 8l 

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of age, and an ailing man, further delay was 
not desirable. Fitz-Gerald gave his artist 
friend particular instructions how to travel 
from London either by steamboat or rail- 
way, promising to pick him up at Ipswich, 
and drive him to Woodbridge by the aid of 
the washerwoman's pony, where they would 
sup off toasted cheese and porter with his 
friend Churchyard. 'Once at Woodbridge,' 
he added, 'you will see all the faded tapestry 
of a country town life. London jokes worn 
threadbare ; third-rate accomplishments in- 
finitely prized ; scandal removed from dukes 
and duchesses to the parson, the banker, 
the commissioner of excise, and the attor- 
ney.' The charge for the portrait, a crayon, 
was fifteen pounds, which sum Fitz-Gerald 
promptly remitted, expressing at the same 
time his indebtedness to the artist for the 
trouble he had taken. It is a good likeness, 
and was lithographed to form a frontispiece 
to Selections from the Poems and Letters of 
Bernard Barton. 


Edward Fitz-Gerald 


As the subject of my story had peculiar and 
distinctive qualities, reference to personal 
characteristics is essential to the thorough 
understanding of the man. Our description 
of his appearance is drawn from recollections 
of him after he was sixty years of age, and 
when he began to stoop ; but even then he 
was in height above the medium, and gave 
the impression of having been a fine, good- 
looking man in his younger days. He had 
a melancholy cast of countenance — a mist 
of despondent sadness hung over his face ; 
a complexion bronzed by exposure to sun 
and sea air, large nose, deep upper lip, 
sunken, pale blue eyes and bushy eye- 
brows, large, firmly closed mouth, dimpled 
chin, and fine head. About his half-bald 


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head was a comely grace, whilst the fringe 
of hair on the outskirts was touched by a 
softened grey, which helped to add to the 
dignity of his appearance. The expression 
was severe, that of a man whom you could 
hardly expect a child to question as to the 
time of day. Generally he had a dreamy 
look. His voice, though soft and gentle, 
was not musical ; his manner generally was 
placid and mild ; but when walking along 
road or street, he was so absorbed in 
thought, that if addressed, he would answer 
in a querulous, impatient tone, as though 
annoyed by impertinent interruption. Once 
when walking on the Melton Road, he 
was met by a well-known Nonconformist 
minister of Woodbridge, who greeted him 
with 'Good morning, Mr. Fitz- Gerald.' 
Looking up, he replied, ' I don't know you,' 
and passed on without further remark, a 
peremptory dismissal, with no pretence to 
courtesy. In this he did himself injustice ; 
for if he discovered that the passer-by was 


Edward Fitz-Gerald 

a person whom he had at the moment failed 
to recognise, his manner suddenly changed, 
and he became agreeable and polite. Still, 
the interruption was not acceptable, and he 
appeared more anxious to close than to con- 
tinue the conversation. Customarily his 
manner was that of a well-bred gentleman, 
and sometimes the politeness of courtesy 
even in rebuke was striking. That he could 
also rebuke in an epigram, when he thought 
it necessary, is shown by an anecdote given 
in the Recollections of Aubrey De Vere (I 
quote from the Daily News). The author 
says : ' Here is a story of Lord Tennyson's old 
and valued friend, Edward Fitz-Gerald : — 

' After a large evening party, when nearly 
all the guests had departed, the rest re- 
mained to smoke. In that party was a man 
celebrated for his passion for titles. On this 
occasion he exceeded himself. All his talk 
was of the rich and great, " Yesterday, when 
I was riding with my friend the Duke of 
." "On Tuesday last the Marquis 


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of remarked to me." It went on for a 

long time ; the party listened, some amused, 
some bored. Edward Fitz-Gerald was the 
first to rise. He lighted a candle, passed 
out of the room, stood still with the lock 
of the door in his hand, and looked back. 
He could change his countenance into any- 
thing he pleased. It had then exchanged 
in a moment its merry look for one of pro- 
found, nay hopeless, dejection. Slowly and 
sadly he spoke : " I once knew a lord too, 
but he is dead." Slowly, sadly, he withdrew, 
closing the door amid a roar of laughter.' 

He was extremely careless as to his per- 
sonal appearance, never knowing when to 
cast off an ' old acquaintance,' as he de- 
scribed it, in the shape of hat, coat, or shoes. 
In texture his clothes resembled that worn 
by pilots, and presented the appearance of 
being crumpled and untidy. They were 
put on anyhow, and made to fit him, he 
used to say, like a sack. Though so meanly 
clad, plenty of good apparel was found in 


Edward Fitz-Gerald 

his wardrobe after his decease. In walking 
he slouched awkwardly, always taking the 
least frequented footpath. He generally 
carried a stick, very rarely using an um- 
brella. In cold or wet weather he wore a 
large grey plaid shawl round his neck and 
shoulders. His trousers, which were short, 
by the aid of low shoes exhibited either 
white or grey stockings. Perhaps the most 
noticeable part of his apparel during his 
later years was an old battered black-banded 
tall hat, the greasy look of which indicated 
long service. Worn on the back of his 
head, this gave completeness to his careless 
and Bohemian costume. He generally wore 
a stand-up collar, after the style of Mr. 
Gladstone, with a black silk scarf carelessly 
tied in a bow, and he had in addition a 
white shirt front unstarched, which did not 
suggest recent acquaintance with the ironing- 

The Rev. George Crabbe of Merton 
Rectory (where Fitz-Gerald died), describ- 


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ing his conversation as having been most 
amusing, says he never seemed happy or 
light-hearted. 'As a boy, I was rather 
afraid of him ; he seemed a proud and very 
punctilious man.' 

Miss Crabbe, now the only surviving 
member of the Crabbe family, who had 
known him from her earliest years, writes 
me : ' I think we all stood in awe of him, 
and my impression was that he was a proud 
man ; and like many proud people, didn't 
mind at all doing things that many people 
wouldn't do — such as carrying his boots to 
be mended. We were all very fond of 
him, and he was always very kind to us 
as children. I have never forgotten my 
pride when he admired my garden, all 
grown over with nasturtiums, his favourite 
flower (his love of bright colours was ex- 
treme), particularly as it had been rather 
laughed at. I felt he was a friend from 
that day. He always defended the weakest, 
and was sure to take their part. We children 


Edward Fitz-Gerald 

were proud if he let any of us do anything 
for him, or if we were allowed by our father 
or sister to go and call him into lunch ; but 
he was sure not to come if called, though he 
would come if not called. 

' By my father's wish he used to come in 
and out just as if it was his own house. He 
translated most of his Persian poems sitting 
under one of the trees in our garden. I 
have the table we, or he, used to carry out. 
How delighted we were whenever he came, 
and how we missed him when he was away ! 
He seemed a part of our life, he was so kind 
and thoughtful for us. 

' Mr. Fitz-Gerald was full of fun, but his 
moods varied a good deal. We children 
delighted to hear him talk. In those days 
we only listened. My father or brother or 
eldest sister talked, but we enjoyed it. He 
was peculiar, but that he liked to be ; a 
perfect gentleman, and very noble-looking 
he couldn't do a mean thing. 

* On reading his letters to Mrs. Kemble, 


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I could recall having heard him say nearly 
every word in them. He used to talk of 
her, of his friends Thackeray, Tennyson, 
and all the rest. It was delightful to hear 
him talk about them, and how fond of them 
he was. He would say " dear old " whoever 
it was he talked of. My impressions of 

Mr. Fitz-Gerald are that he was extremely 
honourable — one you could entirely trust, 
truthful, proud, a fund of wit in him, and 
could set any one down completely if they 
were at all pushing ; faithful to old friends, 
difficult to please.' 

Charlotte Bronte was so nervous and shy, 
that it was irksome to her to be introduced 
to strangers. She paid a visit to Mrs. 
Gaskell, expecting to find the family alone ; 
but to her surprise, a lady friend sat at table 
with them. This created a nervous tremor, 
a shiver ran over her, and she was unusually 
silent all the evening. She was fond of 
music, and whilst staying with Mrs. Gaskell 
two musical ladies invited her to give them 


Edward Fitz-Gerald 

a call next day, when they would sing to 
her. She accepted the invitation, but on 
reaching the house her courage failed. 
Mrs. Gaskell was with her, and they walked 
up and down the street for some time, but 
it was of no use ; at last her friend had to 
make the call, and to offer the best apology 
she could for the non-appearance of Miss 

The feeling thus manifested by the author 
of Jane Eyre will illustrate the effects of 
nervousness from which Fitz-Gerald suffered, 
for he was equally shy in his way. 

After the circulation in America of a few 
copies of his Translations, his fame spread 
rapidly among the scholars in that country ; 
and Professor Goodwin, of the University 
of Boston, when on a visit to England, was 
anxious to spend a few hours with the trans- 
lator. He wrote to Fitz-Gerald proposing 
to visit him at Woodbridge ; but Fitz-Gerald 
replied that he could not bear the thought 
of his coming all that way for such a pur- 


The Life of 

pose. The proposal actually worried him. 
This looks like a morbid sense of humility, 
but it was natural to the man. 

In March 1882 a lady residing in Wood- 
bridge intimated that she meant to pay Mr. 
Fitz-Gerald a visit of congratulation on the 
seventy-third anniversary of his birth, which 
was close at hand, whereupon he begged 
her to stay at home, and neither say nor 
write anything about it ! 

This shyness, or self-disparagement, or 
reserve, which may be looked upon as 
one of the eccentricities of genius, in some 
instances operated prejudicially to himself. 
If he was in the presence of persons, as he 
thought, not in sympathy with him, he was 
either silent or uncomfortable. This, of 
course, left an unfavourable impression on 
the minds of strangers. He was once 
invited to a small dinner-party to meet 
Macready ; but when there, he was nearly 
silent. He looked upon the eminent 
tragedian as the lion of the evening, and 


Edward Fitz-Gerald 

kept aloof from him, as he did not like 

The lives of other eminent men furnish 
similar examples. Tennyson was extremely 
shy and sensitive. Rogers once had his 
hand on Dr. Johnson's knocker, but lacked 
the courage to use it, and ran away without 
seeing the author of the Lives of the Poets. 
The poet Gray was always striving to be 
elegant in person and dress, but was as 
much of a recluse, and just as silent in a 
mixed company as Fitz-Gerald. Steele 
says that Addison, when with friends, was 
delightful in conversation ; yet Pope tells 
us that before strangers he preserved his 
dignity by a stiff silence, and describing 
Gay, said he was in wit a man, in simplicity 
a child, and this would do for Fitz-Gerald 

Writing to Frederick Tennyson in 1850, 
he said, ' I get shyer and shyer even 
of those I know ; and when his old 
friend, Fanny Kemble, arrived in London, 


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after living in America some years, with 
whom he had exchanged letters monthly 
for a long period, he went up to see her. 
The next day she had a letter saying, ' I 
should very gladly have " crushed a cup of 
tea " with you last evening, coming prepared 
so to do, but you had friends, and so I went 
to the pit of the Old Haymarket Theatre.' 

Another characteristic was his hatred of 
London. He had no hesitation as to the 
comparative merits of life in London and 
life in the country. ' London is hateful to 
me. I long to spread wing and fly into the 
clear air of the country.' He felt sure that 
the great city was a deadly plague, worse 
than the disease so called that came to 
ravage it, 'and the fresh cold and wet of 
our clay-fields is better than fog that stinks 
per se. 

It was not merely London that he hated. 
Londoners came in for a share of his dislike. 
' The men and women were,' he said, ' all 
clever, composed, satirical, selfish, and well 


Edward Fitz-Gerald 

dressed. One finds but few serious men in 
London. I mean serious even in fun, with 
a true purpose and character, whatsoever it 
may be. London melts away all indivi- 
duality into a common lump of cleverness. 
He hated nothing so much as that super- 
ficial cleverness which is so common in 
towns, and held 'that the dulness of 
country life is better than the impudence of 

He lamented the false estimate of respect- 
ability that prevailed in society, and the 
assumption that only certain kinds of 
employment were genteel. ' Such things 
as wealth, rank, and what is called respecta- 
bility I don't care a straw about.' As may 
be supposed, he escaped all anxiety in 
connection with tailors, and scorned the 
fine clothes in which some of his neighbours, 
to whom the accident of suddenly acquired 
wealth constituted their only social dis- 
tinction, decked themselves. Against the 
tyranny of custom he resolutely set himself. 


The Life of 

Like Charles Lamb, he never greatly 
cared for the society of what are called 
good people. He had discovered that in 
what is spoken of as good society there was 
plenty of visiting, but no communion. In 
evening parties the association of ladies was 
self-evident, but the interchange of thought 
was disregarded. He found more real 
enjoyment in the fisherman's cottage than in 
the home of the squire, where he said awful 
formalities stifled the genuine flow of nature. 
He preferred the society of his books to 
that of most of his wealthy neighbours, and 
was impatient of idle talk. Compliments 
were intolerable to him ; even thanks for 
gifts he thought would have been better 

From his dislike of London and London 
society it will be supposed that he was 
strongly attached to country life, and the 
supposition is perfectly true. For him nature 
abounded with charms, and the rusticity of 
the fields filled his heart with joy. A band 


Edward Fitz-Gerald 

of reapers or mowers delighted him ; the 
sound of the whetstone, as it slipped over 
the blade of the scythe, was music in his 
ears. His love of nature is frequently shown 
in his letters. He appeared to feel a per- 
sonal companionship with birds. In spring 
and summer evenings he sat with open 
window smoking whilst the blackbirds and 
thrushes rustled to roost, and the nightingale 
had the field to himself. Speaking of the 
blackbird and the nightingale, he says, ' I 
have always loved the first best, as being 
so jolly, and the note so proper from that 
golden bill of his.' He dearly remembered— 

' The robin that chirped in the frosty December, 
The blackbird that whistles through flower-crowned 

His garden was frequently tenanted in 
the winter by a blackbird. During a hard 
winter he kept one alive by providing a 
saucer of bread-and-milk for it every day ; 
and at the beginning of the next winter he 
was pleased to hear a blackbird's notes, the 
G 97 

The Life of 

same calls, and as far as he could tell, the 
same bird, come to look for his food-supply. 

Though looking so grave, Fitz-Gerald 
was often a very different man from what 
his gravity would lead one to suspect. He 
had a keen sense of humour ; there was 
sharpness in his wit, pungency in his satire, 
but these were guarded by great discretion 
and good nature ; yet he sometimes did not 
hesitate to fire humorous shots at grave 
subjects, but this was done with such 
delicacy as to render it easy to detect the 
wisdom which underlay the humour. 

To collect examples of this side of Fitz- 
Gerald's character is difficult, for his friends 
do not seem to have stored them in memory. 
One of the most intimate of his Woodbridge 
friends says, ' It would be difficult for me to 
quote instances.' Another says, ' He was 
full of fun, always saying things in the driest 
way ; not laughing himself, but his expres- 
sion was humorous.' Not every sage has a 
Boswell ! 

9 8 

Edward Fitz-Gerald 

The examples of Fitz-Gerald's fun, which 
I have heard recited, fail to give a full idea 
of the man who named his little yacht The 
Scandal, because he thought defamation 
travelled faster than anything else in Wood- 

Fitz-Gerald and Captain Brooke were 
nearly of the same age, had spent the 
greater part of their lives within a few miles 
of each other's homes, and greatly enjoyed 
each other's company. Fitz-Gerald said his 
Ufford friend was ' Frank by name, and 
frank by nature.' Like himself, Mr. Brooke 
was a good linguist. He wrote and spoke 
with facility several languages, and as great 
book-lovers they had much in common, but 
in habits and dress were far apart. The 
smart, prim, and even youthful aspect of 
the one contrasted strongly with the care- 
less and slovenly appearance of the other. 

A remark which Fitz-Gerald one day 
made to Captain Brooke was worthy of 
Charles Lamb. Leaving with a friend the 


The Life of 

railway platform at Woodbridge, Fitz-Gerald 
saw, in the station-yard, Captain Brooke 
mounted on his high-mettled charger. After 
the ordinary greetings had passed, he ex- 
claimed as he was walking off, ' Brooke, you 
should be ashamed of yourself.' — 'What 
for?' asked the Captain. — 'Because you 
falsify your years ; you ve no business to 
look so young.' The force of these words 
will be appreciated by all who recollect the 
care with which the good-natured Squire of 
Ufford arrayed himself in all his glory with 
the aid of tailor and valet. 

Fanny Kemble, in one of her articles 
in the Atlantic Monthly, notes a character- 
istic of Edward Fitz-Gerald, who remained 
her friend throughout life. She says he 
was an admirable scholar and writer, who, 
if he had not shunned notoriety as sedulously 
as most people seek it, would have achieved 
a foremost place among the eminent literary 
men of his day. But with all his rare 
intellectual and artistic gifts, 'he led a 


Edward Fitz-Gerald 

curious life of almost entire estrangement 
from society, preferring the companionship 
of rough sailors and fishermen to that of 
lettered folk.' 

And Mr. Edward Clodd says : ' In the 
district in which Edward Fitz-Gerald was 
born, and lived, and died, reminiscences of 
the man whom the yokels in their usual 
assessment of genius called "dotty" are 
yet plentiful. How could they appreciate 
the man who hobnobbed with all ; whose 
large-heartedness took the oddest and droll- 
est of ways ; who hearing that a poor trades- 
woman was in trouble, emptied her shop of 
all its feminine wares at West End prices ; 
who stood port wine to the fisher-folk when 
they sighed for a quart of beer ; who helped 
them to buy their boats and gear, and never 
asked for the repayment of the loans ; who 
shared ventures with them in herring craft 
— Meum et Tuum one of these was named, 
only there was more tuum than meum, 
because he paid the losses and refused the 


The Life of 

gains — how could these bumpkins know that 
here was a man, the peer of more famous 
contemporaries? The prophet met the 

usual fate in his own country, but yokels are 
not the only mortals to whom truth of per- 
spective is denied.' * 

A characteristic which all may admire 
was his generosity. He was generous to 
a fault, and one of the least worldly-minded 
men that can be imagined. He would not 
give a subscription or donation for publica- 
tion. He followed the precept, ' Let not thy 
left hand know what thy right hand doeth,' 
but that he did give largely has been grate- 
fully remembered by many of his poorer 
neighbours. The reviewer of his works in 
The Quarterly, who, I believe, was an in- 
timate friend, says, ' We can imagine it to be 
very possible that he never gave a guinea to 
a charitable society in his life, but very certain 
that he gave a great many to unfortunate 
individuals with whom he came in contact.' 

1 Pilgrimage to Fitz-Gerald's Grave. 

Edward Fitz-Gerald 

Soon after the Rev. C. B. Ratcliffe was 
appointed to the Vicarage of St. John's, 
Woodbridge, he called upon Fitz-Gerald, as 
one of his wealthy parishioners. Fitz-Gerald 
declined to see him, but sent word, 'If Mr. 
Ratcliffe wants money for any one in his 
parish, and writes to me, he shall have it. 

In answer to my inquiries, the rev. gentle- 
man kindly wrote : ' My personal acquaint- 
ance with Edward Fitz-Gerald was very 
slight. He was living in the strictest retire- 
ment when I came to St. John's in the latter 
part of 1 88 1 ; if I remember rightly, his 
nieces were staying with him when I first 
called, and I gathered from them that with 
the exception of intimate friends he saw no 
one. I received a ^5 note from him soon 
afterwards, and another the next year for 
distribution among the poor of the parish, 
accompanied by a letter to the effect that 
no word of thanks was to be offered to him' 

Miss Crabbe, writing on the same subject, 
says : 'He was wonderfully generous, but 


The Life of 

never talked about it, not only helping the 
poor, but giving hundreds to those who 
could not make a living by their work as 
artists, etc., or buying their pictures. He 
spent nothing on himself, unless it was in 
the purchase of a good painting.' 

A gentleman who was on intimate terms 
with him for some years writes : ' He had 
his old pensioners, as he called them, 
to whom he allowed something weekly, 
monthly, or quarterly, and he would ask 
two or three ladies to disburse money for 
him at Christmas, or for sickness or deserv- 
ing cases. He lent money in more than 
one case to help persons in business at a 
nominal rate of interest, after a time making 
them a present of the entire amount by 
putting the note of hand in the fire.' 

He had an antipathy for female beggars, 
especially when in the guise of district 
visitors. Some of these, he said, assumed 
a monopoly of religious truth, obtruded 
themselves into the poor man's home, for 


Edward Fitz-Gerald 

the purpose of probing his conscience and 
taking the measure of his creed. He asso- 
ciated all these with Dickens's Mrs. Jellaby, 
and treated them accordingly. Two young 
ladies of the religio - philanthropic turn 
called upon him, and sent in the message 
that they wanted a shilling towards getting 
a cot for an invalid child. He sent out his 
answer : ' Tell them to go home and mend 
their stockings.' 

By will he directed his executors to 
reward handsomely, at their discretion, all 
persons * who may be in my service at the 
time of my decease, or who have attended 
or waited upon me during my last illness.' 
Whilst living at Little Grange, he had an 
aged couple — Mr. and Mrs. How — to take 
charge of his household. To these he left 
an annuity of seventy pounds a year for 
their joint lives, and for the life of the sur- 
vivor. And it is pleasant to see how he 
kindly remembered in his will the daughters 
of the dearest of his friends. 


The Life of 

His utter disregard for wealth, and his 
willingness to make a heavy sacrifice for the 
public good, are well illustrated in a letter 
he wrote just prior to the breaking out of 
the Crimean War. He says : ' I am told 
that if war comes, I may lose some ^5000 
in Russian bankruptcy, but I can truly say I 
would give that and more to ensure peace 
and goodwill among men at this time.' 

As an illustration of the Good Samaritan 
spirit which filled the heart of Fitz-Gerald, 
I add the following : — He became acquainted 
with a clerk in a London office, who be- 
longed to friends living in Suffolk, and who 
had the misfortune to combine small means 
with very delicate health. Having resolved 
in his own mind that pure air was the one 
thing needful for this young man, Fitz- 
Gerald determined to get him to Wood- 
bridge to rusticate whenever he could be 
spared, and for several years the bank 
holidays, with some additional days, were 
made use of for this purpose. On these 


Edward Fitz-Gerald 

occasions they sailed daily down the Deben 
to Bawdsey, or went to Aldeburgh, where 
they dashed about in sail-boats on the open 
sea, drinking in all the oxygen they could 
inhale. The young man is living, married, 
and comfortably settled, and owes much 
to Fitz-Gerald for his considerate thought- 

Another case was that of an artist in 
London, whom he knew only through a 
Suffolk friend who had passed away. He 
was poor, original, independent in spirit, 
and lived in a garret, which he would not 
allow to be cleaned. One morning Fitz- 
Gerald received from him a note, written in 
pencil, from which the recipient judged that 
the poor fellow was very ill. He immedi- 
ately wrote to his friend Laurence, the 
artist, to ascertain if the object of his solici- 
tude had all that, in his sad condition, he 
really wanted or wished for. By the same 
post he also wrote to the landlord begging 
similar information. To Laurence he said : 


The Life of 

' I know not what his means are, and I 
should wish to supply what is wanted at 

such a time. Mr. R is a delicate and 

proud man, and has always refused any 
offer I made him. His small means have 
been equal to his very small wants while he 
was in health, I dare say ; but I know not 
how it may be now.' 

Three days after writing thus, he sent two 
brace of pheasants to Mr. Laurence, asking 
him to have one of the birds cooked and 
sent cold to the invalid, with the words, ' I 
do not think you will mind this little trouble 
for a poor artist. Later on Fitz-Gerald 
went twice to London to see the poor 
fellow, who was thought to be sinking, but 
strength was only gradually failing. As the 
few pounds he had saved had now dwindled 
to nothing even with the help he had received, 
Fitz-Gerald and two others clubbed together 
to maintain him for the rest of his life, and 
thus remove from his mind an oppressive 
load of anxiety. After his second visit to 


Edward Fitz-Gerald 

the invalid, he wrote to Laurence, ' I believe 
he has really been better since his landlady- 
sent him up a plate of good meat for his 
daily dinner. By whose considerate thought- 
fulness this was supplied may readily be 

These incidents help to show what a kind 
heart beat under the slatternly attire with 
which Fitz-Gerald was content ; but it is diffi- 
cult to do justice to this side of his charac- 
ter, for the simple reason that, as I have said, 
his many acts of tenderness cannot be traced. 
If any think that his brusqueness was harsh 
and unfeeling, they will, I hope, set off one 
feature against the other, and probably con- 
clude that his benevolence more than com- 
pensated for his apparent austerity. 

I close this chapter by laying before my 
readers a copy of a letter which Lord 
Tennyson has kindly permitted me to take 
from his charming biography of his father. 
It is from Fitz-Gerald to Alfred Tennyson 
after their joint visit to James Spedding's 


The Life of 

home in Cumberland in 1835. At that time 
Tennyson's income was small ; but he, 
noble-minded man, lived a life of self- 
denial, and worked on, determined to perfect 
his poems before he offered a second volume 
to the public. The delicate tenderness 
which Fitz-Gerald breathes in this letter, 
whilst offering pecuniary aid to his friend 
in what he thought his hour of need, reflects 
credit on his head and heart, and does more 
than would pages of description to show the 
real spirit of the man : — 

' London, July 2nd, 1835. 
' Dear Tennyson, — I suppose you have 
heard of the death of James Spedding's 
sister-in-law ; for my part, I only came to 
know of it a day or two ago, having till then 
lived out of communication with any one 
who was likely to know of such things. 
After leaving you at Ambleside, I stayed a 
fortnight at Manchester, and then went to 
Warwick, where I lived a king for a month. 


Edward Fitz-Gerald 

Warwickshire is a noble shire ; and the 
spring being so late, I had the benefit of it 
through" most of the month of June. I some- 
times wished for you, for I think you would 
have liked it well. I have heard you 

sometimes say that you are bound by the 
want of such and such a sum, and I vow to 
the Lord that I could not have a greater 
pleasure than transferring it to you on such 
occasions ; I should not dare to say such a 
thing to a small man, but you are not a 
small man assuredly ; and even if you do 
not make use of my offer, you will not be 
offended, but put it to the right account. It 
is very difficult to persuade people in this 
world that one can part with a bank-note 
without a pang. It is one of the most 
simple things I have ever done to talk thus 
to you, I believe ; but here is an end, and 
be charitable to me.' — (Vol. i. page 155.) 


The Life of 


One of Fitz-Gerald's most intimate friends 
said that the first half of his life was passed 
in quiet reading and thinking ; he might 
have added in roaming about, making dis- 
creet journeys in uneventful directions. His 
letters to his friends at that time give little 
evidence of a desire for literary work, 
although they often enlighten them by his 
independent criticism, which at once exhibits 
good scholarship and keen perception. His 
reading was extensive, and he easily digested 
what he read, and thus continually kept 
adding to his stores of knowledge. A re- 
viewer has remarked that Fitz-Gerald was 
highly endowed, but in the absence of spur 
to action ' he was content to let the sword 
of his intellect rust in the scabbard.' 


Edward Fitz-Gerald 

Almost all his friends were connected 
with literature, and he must have been con- 
scious of his ability to take part in the world 
of letters ; but he confesses that, at this 
period of his life, indolence was his besetting 
sin, whilst his extraordinary diffidence re- 
strained him from testing his powers. Much 
that was published struck him as not rising 
above mediocrity ; and his belief that 'unless 
a man can do better, he had best not do at 
all,' kept him from trying to rival his friends; 
even late in life he spoke of some of his 
small escapades in print as nice little things 
which may interest a few people for a few 
years, but he felt somewhat ashamed "of 
having allowed his leisure to drive him into 
print when so many much more capable 
people keep silent.' With such feelings, it 
is not surprising that he was more than 
forty years of age before he published any- 
thing that would place him among the list 
of authors. 

When preparing the three-volume edition 
h 113 

The Life of 

of his friend's Letters and Literary Remains, 
Mr. Aldis Wright made a discovery which 
seems to prove that Fitz-Gerald did make 
some attempts at authorship during the 
years in which he is supposed to have been 
idle. Whilst examining a Common Place 
Book belonging to Archdeacon Allen, he 
saw a poem entitled ' The Meadows in 
Spring,' bearing the initials E. F. G., and 
the date Naseby, Spring 1831. This he 
identified as the poem which Fitz-Gerald 
had told him he wrote when little more 
than a lad and sent to the Athenceuvi . 
The date of its appearance in that journal 
is July 9, 1 83 1. 

No mention is made in the published 
Letters of this poem, and the mystery which 
hangs about its publication marks strongly 
the eccentricity of its author. It is a typical 
illustration of those peculiarities by which 
more than one member of the Fitz-Gerald 
family gained notoriety. Although sent to 
the above-named journal in June or July, 


Edward Fitz-Gerald 

it had, strange to say, been published in 
the preceding April in Hone's Year Book 
with a letter from the author. Its second 
appearance naturally excited surprise among 
literary men ; and Charles Lamb wrote to a 
friend telling him that the Athenceum had 
' been hoaxed with some exquisite poetry 
that was two or three months ago in Hone's 
Year Book. I do not know who wrote it, 
but 'tis a poem I envy.' The copy here 
given is from the latter source. 


Tis a sad sight 

To see the year dying; 
When autumn's last wind 

Sets the yellow woods sighing, 
Sighing, oh sighing ! 

When such a time cometh, 

I do retire 
Into an old room, 

Beside a bright fire ; 
Oh ! pile a bright fire ! 


The Life of 

And there I sit 

Reading old things, 
Of knights and ladies, 

While the wind sings ; 
Oh ! drearily sings ! 

I never look out, 

Nor attend to the blast ; 
For all to be seen 

Is the leaves falling fast ; 
Falling, falling ! 

But, close at the hearth, 

Like a cricket sit I ; 
Reading of summer 

And chivalry ; 
Gallant chivalry ! 

Then with an old friend, 

I talk of our youth ; 
How 'twas gladsome, but often 

Foolish, forsooth, 

But gladsome, gladsome ! 

Or, to get merry, 

We sing an old rhyme 
That made the wood ring again 

In summer-time ; 
Sweet summer-time ! 


Edward Fitz-Gerald 

Then take we to smoking, 

Silent and snug ; 
Nought passes between us, 

Save a brown jug; 

Sometimes ! Sometimes ! 

And sometimes a tear 
Will rise in each eye, 

Seeing the two old friends, 
So merrily ; 
So merrily ! 

And ere we to bed, 

Go we, go we. 
Down by the ashes, 

We kneel on the knee ; 
Praying, praying ; 

Thus then live I, 

Till breaking the gloom 
Of winter, the bold sun 

Is with me in the room ; 
Shining, shining ! 

Then the clouds part, 
Swallows soaring between ; 

The spring is awake, 

And the meadows are green. 


The Life of 

I jump up like mad ; 

Break the old pipe in twain, 
And away to the meadows, 

The meadows again ! 


The poem was accompanied by the follow- 
ing letter to the editor : — 

1 These verses are in the old style, rather 
homely in expression, but I honestly profess 
to stick more to the simplicity of the old poets 
than the moderns, and to love the philo- 
sophical good-humour of our old writers more 
than the sickly melancholy of the Byronian 
wits. If my verses be not good, they are 
good-humoured, and that is something.' 

When sent to the Athencewn, the author 
wrote the editor : ' My verses are certainly 
not in the present fashion. If they are 

fitted for your paper, you are welcome to 
them.' The editor replied : ' They are fitted 
for any paper they are deep in feeling 

and sweet in harmony. We have a suspicion 
that we could name the writer ; if so, we are 


Edward Fitz-Gerald 

sure his name would grace our pages as 
much as his verses.' From this it has been 
conjectured that the editor had in his eye 
Charles Lamb. 

The flattering testimony of so acute a 
critic as Charles Lamb to the poetical 
power of 'The Meadows in Spring,' when 
he declared, ''Tisapoem I envy,' and the 
strong commendation which the editor of 
the Athenceum appended to the poem in 
his columns, would have stimulated most 
young aspirants to poetic fame to make 
greater efforts. But the singing impulse 
did not last with Fitz-Gerald. There was 
nothing in his surroundings to impel him 
to write ; he was sure to ask, What good 
will it do? This hesitancy kept him in 
chains. Fame did not disturb him, and 
what he said of his sister Lusia was ap- 
plicable to himself at this period of his 
life, ' She wishes to exert herself, which 
is the highest wish a Fitz-Gerald can form.' 
He delighted in Epicurean ease, and con- 

The Life of 

tended that, having no capacity for achieve- 
ment, he had a right to take his ease as 
a privileged onlooker. 

That he had the ability to command 
attention as a poet, notwithstanding all his 
disclaimers, is evidenced by his poem, 
' Bredfield Hall,' printed and circulated 
among his friends in 1839. He said of 
Omar's quatrains ' that they had the ring 
of the true metal,' and these verses on his 
birthplace are not less worthy of being so 
described. The version here given is from 
a ms. copy in the possession of an intimate 
friend, and bears the latest revision of the 
author. It differs slightly from the copy 
printed by Fitz-Gerald's editor, and it is 
greatly improved by the use of the eight- 
line stanza. 


Lo, an English mansion founded 

In the elder James's reign, 
Quaint and stately, and surrounded 

With a pastoral domain. 


Edward Fitz-Gerald 

With well-timbered lawn and gardens, 
And with many a pleasant mead, 

Skirted by the lofty coverts, 

Where the hare and pheasant feed. 

Flank'd it is with goodly stables, 

Shelter'd by coeval trees ; 
So it lifts its honest gables 

Tow'rd the distant German Seas. 
Where it once discerned the smoke 

Of old sea-battles far away ; 
And victorious Nelson's topmasts, 

Anchoring in Hollesley Bay. 

O'er the meadows that surround it 

Broods the dusk of days gone by ; 
O'er the solemn woods that bound it, 

Ancient sunsets seem to die. 
Through the cypress in the garden 

Sighs the warning voice of old ; 
One same cuckoo calls afar off, 

One same crocus breaks the mould. 

But whatever storm might riot, 

Cannon roar, and trumpet ring ; 
Still amid these meadows quiet 

Did the yearly violet spring. 
Still heaven's starry hand suspended 

That light balance of the dew ; 
That each night on earth descended, 

And each morning rose anew. 


The Life of 

And the ancient house stood rearing, 

Undisturb'd her chimneys high ; 
And her gilded vanes still veering 

Toward each quarter of the sky. 
While like wave to wave succeeding, 

Through the world of joy and strife, 
Household after household speeding, 

Handed on the torch of life. 

First, Sir Knight in ruff and doublet, 

Arm in arm with stately dame ; 
Then the cavaliers indignant 

For their Monarch brought to shame. 
Languid beauties limn'd by Lely, 

Full-wigg'd Justice of Queen Anne, 
Tory squires who tippled freely, 

And the modern Gentleman. 

Here they lived, and here they greeted, 

Maids and matrons, sons and sires, 
Wandering in its walks, or seated 

Round its hospitable fires. 
Oft their silken dresses floated, 

Gleaming through the pleasure-ground ; 
Oft dash'd by the scarlet-coated 

Hunter, horse, and dappled hound. 

Till the bell that not in vain 

Had summon'd them to weekly prayer, 
Called them one by one again 

To the church — and left them there ! 


Edward Fitz-Gerald 

They with all their loves and passions, 
Compliment, and song, and jest, 

Politics, and sports, and fashions, 
Merged in everlasting rest ! 

So they pass — while thou, old Mansion, 

Markest with unaltered face 
How like the foliage of thy summers 

Race of man succeeds to race. 
To most thou stand'st a record sad, 

But all the sunshine of the year 
Could not make thine aspect glad 

To one whose youth is buried here. 

In thine ancient rooms and gardens, 

Buried — and his own no more 
Than the youth of those old owners, 

Dead two centuries before. 
Still though 'scaping Time's more savage 

Handiwork this pile appears, 
It has not escaped the ravage 

Of the undermining years. 

And though each succeeding master, 

Grumbling at the cost to pay, 
Did with coat of paint and plaster 

Hide the wrinkles of decay ; 
Yet the secret worm ne'er ceases, 

Nor the mouse behind the wall ; 
Heart of oak will come to pieces, 

And farewell to Bredfield Hall ! 


The Life of 

The above was issued in 1839, and twelve 
years elapsed before Euphranor, a Dialogue 
on Youth, was published. This, the first 
book that Fitz-Gerald issued, is a small 
volume of eighty-one pages, without preface 
or dedication. It is a Platonic dialogue 
in academic style, with a framework of 
landscape in which the colleges, the halls, 
and the river at Cambridge are introduced. 
Students and townsmen are assembled on 
the banks of the Cam to watch the efforts of 
the several crews in a University boat-race. 
Mr. Edmund Gosse says of this book : ' Slight 
perhaps, and notably unambitious, Euph- 
ranor could scarcely have been written by any 
one but Fitz-Gerald, unless possibly in certain 
moods by Landor, and it remains the most 
complete and sustained of his prose works.' 

Of this book Alfred Tennyson declared 
that the description of the University boat- 
race was one of the most beautiful fragments 
of English prose extant. I give the passage 
entire as quoted by Mr. Gosse : — 


Edward Fitz-Gerald 

' Townsmen and Gownsmen, with the 
tassell'd Fellow-Commoner sprinkled here 
and there, Reading Men and Sporting Men, 
Fellows and even Masters of Colleges not 
indifferent to the prowess of their respective 
crews, — all these conversing on all sorts of 
topics, from the slang in Bell's Life to the 
last new German revelation, and moving 
in ever-changing groups down the shore of 
the river, at whose farther bend was a little 
knot of ladies gathered upon a green knoll 
faced and illuminated by the beams of the 
setting sun. Beyond which point was at 
length heard some indistinct shouting, which 
gradually increased, until " They are off — 
they are coming ! " suspended other conver- 
sation among ourselves ; and suddenly the 
head of the first boat turned the corner ; 
and then another close upon it ; and then a 
third ; the crews, pulling with all their might, 
compacted into a perfect rhythm ; and the 
crowd on shore turning round to follow 
along with them, waving hats and caps, 


The Life of 

and cheering " Bravo, St. John's!" "Go it, 
Trinity!" the high crest and blowing 
forelock of Phidippus' mare, and he 
himself shouting encouragement to his 
crew, conspicuous over all, until the boats 
reaching us, we also were caught up in the 
returning tide of spectators, and hurried 
back toward the goal ; where we arrived 
just in time to see the ensign of Trinity 
lowered from its pride of place, and the 
eagle of St. John's soaring there instead. 
Then, waiting a little while to hear how the 
winner had won and the loser lost, and 
watching Phidippus engaged in eager 
conversation with his defeated brethren, 
I took Euphranor and Lexilogus under 
either arm (Lycion having got into better 
company elsewhere) and walked home 
with them across the meadow leading 
to the town, whither the dusky troops of 
gownsmen with all their confused voices 
seemed as it were evaporating in the 
twilight, while a nightingale began to 


Edward Fitz-Gerald 

be heard among the flowering chestnuts 
of Jesus.' 1 

In the following year (1852) he published 
another volume, still anonymous — Polonins, 
a collection of ' Wise Saws and Modern 
Instances,' from Bacon, Selden, Carlyle, 
Newman, and others. This was the last 
of his prose efforts in volume form. He 
now began the labours on which in the 
literary world his fame rests, that of a 
translator of poetry ; but in after years 
he contributed some local articles to a 
Suffolk magazine, from which I shall 

Fitz-Gerald had a great love for the 
Suffolk dialect, and Major Moor's Suffolk 
Words and Phrases was one of his favourite 
books. So strong was his interest on this 
subject, that he made considerable collec- 
tions towards a new edition, and for years 
he meditated giving the fruit of his labours 
to the public. His want of resolution came 

1 Fortnightly Review ', July 1889. 

The Life of 

in the way, and the idea was abandoned. 
This was a loss to literature, as he was just 
the man for the work. 

Fortunately, another collection of his was 
almost entirely preserved. From his love 
for the sea sprang a strong attachment to 
sailors and beachmen, whose acquaintance 
he strove to make at Aldeburgh, at Dun- 
wich, and at Lowestoft. When among them 
he amused himself by picking up phrases 
which were habitually on their tongue. 
These he was induced to contribute to the 
pages of the East Anglian, an archaeological 
journal published in 1868 by Mr. S. Tymms 
of Lowestoft, under the title, ' Sea Words 
and Phrases along the Suffolk Coast/ and 
with them he incorporated some of his 
Suffolk dialect. This collection will be 
found in vols. iii. and iv. of East Anglian, 
old series, and covers twenty-six pages. 
His letter to the editor, and a few examples 
from the collection, are given as follows : — 


Edward Fitz-Gerald 


' To the Editor of the " East Anglian." 

' My dear Sir, — You have asked me to 
send you some of the Sea Phrases I have 
picked up along our Suffolk Coast — 
from Yarmouth to Harwich — and here they 

'Certainly, the only two East Anglian 
Vocabularies we had till within the last two 
years were deficient in this respect ; and a 
considerable deficiency one must reckon it, 
considering how much of the country whose 
phraseology they undertake to register is 
sea-board. But Major Moor, though born 
at Alderton, only two miles from the waves, 
went out to India as soon as he was in his 
teens ; and when at length returned to settle 
in England, occupied himself with an 
inland, though not far inland, farm, for 
the remainder of his wise, beneficent, and 
i 129 

The Life of 

delightful life. Forby was busy with a 
parish near Downham Market ; and though 
both might, under certain conditions, have 
almost heard the sea that washes their 
coasts, they neglected the language of its 
people for that of those "whose talk is of 

' I had for some time meditated a fusion 
of their two Glossaries, taking the more 
accurate Forby for groundwork, to be 
illustrated with Major Moor's delightful 
Suffolk humour, and adding the Sea 
Phrases in which they both were wanting. 
Two years ago, however, Mr. Nail in some 
measure anticipated my dread exploit by 
the very good East Anglian Vocabulary 
which he appended to his Yarmouth Guide ; 
bringing to his task a great deal of ety- 
mological research, such as the march of 
philology has made much easier since 
Forby's time, but such as I could make no 
pretensions to. I had, however, been more 
among the sailors, if not among the philo- 


Edward Fitz-Gerald 

logists, than Mr. Nail ; and being very glad 
of his book, sent him the words I now send 
you, to be incorporated, if he saw good, in 
any future edition of his book. He thanked 
me courteously, and since then I have heard 
no more of him. 

' Meanwhile, you think these words of 
mine may find a proper niche in your East 
Anglian, and you are very welcome to 
them. Picked up idly, with little care how 
or whence they came to hand, I doubt they 
will make a sorry show in your grave pages, 
whether as regards quantity or quality. 
They may, however, amuse some of your 
readers, and perhaps interest others in 
guessing at their history. On the whole, I 
think if you print them as I send them, it 
must be in some Christmas number, a season 
when even antiquaries grow young, scholars 
unbend, and grave men are content to let 
others trifle. Even Notes and Queries, with 
all the scholars that Bruce so long has led, 
sometimes smile, sometimes doze, and 


The Life of 

usually gossip about what is the fashion to 
call Folklore (of which I send you some 
also) at Christmas. — And so, wishing you, at 
any rate, a happy one, I remain, yours very 
sincerely, E. F. G. 

' P.S. — I add a little incidental gossip at 
the end, in order to make up one number 
all of a piece, if you think your subscribers 
won't drop off in consequence.' 

'Mitten. " Dead as a Mitten" — that is 
the sea phrase. Another article as well 
appreciated by the Seaman is commonly 
used for the same comparison ashore. A 
gamekeeper near Lowestoft was describing 
how some dignitary of the Church — he knew 
not what — was shooting with his master. 
Some game — I know not what — was sprung ; 
and the gamekeeper, at a loss for any 
correct definition of his man, called out, 
" Blaze away, your Holiness ! " and blowed if 
he didn't " knock it over as dead as a 
Biscuit ! " 

' Heart of the Wind. The strength that 


Edward Fitz-Gerald 

promises endurance. A less determined 
wind has no ' Weight ' in it ; no Heart, a 
very comfortable apathy, by the bye, in a 
North-easter, unless to those who are 
running away from it. "A hard-hearted 
wind for ye, Master ! " will be sung out by 
some one going before it, as he passes some 
wind-bound captain looking disconsolately 
over his ship's quarter. 

Before I leave the word, I will add a Suf- 
folk superlative of which it is "the heart," 
almost as good as any of Major Moor's. 
It was said to me by one honest Guernsey 
of another, to whom I owe the greatest part 
of this Sea-slang, "He's the best-keartedest 
Fellow that ever I knew." 

1 Bark. " The surf bark from the 
Nor'ard " ; or, as was otherwise said to 
me, " The sea ain't lost his voice from the 
Nor'ard yet," a sign, by the way, that the 
wind is to come from that quarter. 

' A poetical word such as those whose 
business is with the sea are apt to use. 


The Life of 

Listening one night to the sea some way 
inland, a sailor said to me, "Yes, Sir, the 
sea roar for the loss of the wind," which a 
landsman properly interpreted as only 
meaning that the sea made itself heard 
when the wind had subsided. 

' Betty. To be over nice in putting things 
to order. "He go betty, betty, bettyin' 
about the boat like an old woman." 

' Bottom ; s out. The bottom of the sea, 
when beyond reach of the lead. 

' Fair. Clouds running to. " Do you 
think the wind '11 hold ? " " Lord bless ye, 
look at the clouds a runnin to a fair like." 

' Holiday. Any interval which the 
tarrer of a vessel has neglected to cover. 
"Jem have left plenty of holidays, 

' Feets. Feet ; the s intensitive added to 
the end instead of the beginning, I sup- 
pose. " She was feets and feets under water 
by the time we got to her." The Irish 
footman did not go so deep when he 


Edward Fitz-Gerald 

announced to the Drawing-room, "Mrs. 
Foote and the Misses Feet ! " 

' Soldier. A red herring ; or the remain- 
ing tobacco in a pipe. " I say, just wait till 
I 've smoked this soldier out."' 

In 1877-78 the Ipswich Journal set aside 
a column or two weekly for the insertion of 
' Suffolk Notes and Queries,' and Fitz- 
Gerald added to the interest of the collec- 
tion by occasionally sending a contribution. 
His Notes, which are not numerous, are all 
signed ' Effigy,' a play upon his initials, 
E. F. G.' 

His Letters excepted, there is but little 
more to say of his prose writings. In 1849 
he penned a charming Biographical Sketch 
of his friend Bernard Barton, which was 
prefixed to the subscription edition of 
Selections from the works of that poet, and 
a few years later he contributed to the 
Gentleman s Magazine a lengthy obituary 
notice of the Rev. George Crabbe of Bred- 


The Life of 

field. Every now and then he proposed 
doing something to benefit literature, but 
his vacillation was so great that he seldom 
made a start. His ' Readings from Crabbe ' 
were printed, but never published. Of this 
small work he wrote to a friend : 'My book 
is all printed, unless a preface has to be 
added, which I dislike doing ; above all, I 
will not if my friends Spedding, Wright, 
etc., decide that it may as well remain un- 
published. I know that publishers will do 
very little for Crabbe, and still less for me, 
more kicks than halfpence from reviewers, 
etc. I shall not be at all sorry to have only 
spent my time and money on a little work 
which I think will please my friends.' After 
his death a large number of copies were 
found in a trunk in the lumber-room. 

It has been said of Richardson's Clarissa 
that nothing short of breaking a leg, and 
being laid up a couple of months in a dull 
house, would make it possible to read 
through that remarkable novel. Fitz- 


Edward Fitz-Gerald 

Gerald would remedy this by pruning the 
pedantry of the tale, and the remainder 
would be, he said, one of the great original 
works in the world of fiction. He prepared 
an abridgment, but left it for his executors 
to consign to the lumber-room or to the 

The last and best of Fitz-Gerald's prose 
works — his inimitable Letters — remain to be 
noticed. They were written on the spur of 
the moment to amuse or interest a friend, 
with whom he was anxious to have a light- 
hearted chat on paper, when talk was not to 
be had. Had the translation of Omar brought 
no fame, these gems of English literature 
would in all probability never have been 
heard of, whilst it is now certain they will 
be the delight of thousands of readers who 
will not trouble themselves about the ideas 
and sentiments in the quatrains of the 
Persian philosopher. 

In these easy and familiar letters you see 
at once the best side of the man — cheerful, 


The Life of 

kindly, human. Their frankness, their 
simple confidence in friendly intercourse, 
the way in which he unbosoms himself, 
unconsciously exhibiting his queer ways and 
whims, are among their greatest charms. 
They are models of honesty, many are as 
transparent as a child's prattle. Their 
purity and freedom from conventionalism 
are striking features. The reader, before 
he has covered half a dozen pages, will 
realise that the writer never contemplated 
publication. Gray's Letters are recognised 
as models of epistolary art, but they are 
fastidious and precise, and indicate prepara- 
tion and polish. Fitz-Gerald's, on the other 
hand, are spontaneous and careless to a 
degree, and bear the strongest signs of being 
intended only for the eye of the friends 
to whom they were addressed. 'That his 
letters to his friends were to constitute a 
prized record of his uneventful existence, 
he was millions of miles from surmising. 
Their unconsciousness of merit is, indeed, 


Edward Fitz-Gerald 

one of the many ingredients in the charm 
exercised by them. No ingenue in white 
muslin was ever more innocent of design 
to make an effect. Yet their excellence, 
as mere products of the writing art, is 
unmistakable. Scarcely a sentence falls 
flat, or rings false, yet there is no suspicion 
of "preciosity." To Fitz- Gerald's broad 
common-sense nothing would have seemed 
more contemptible than the affectations and 
far-fetched expedients by which some modern 
stylists in verse or prose attempt to capture 
distinction.' 1 

It must not be forgotten that Fitz-Gerald's 
correspondents ranked among the most 
eminent literary men of England and 
America, and one may be sure that to such 
he could write nothing dull. He had good 
taste in music and the fine arts, and a keen 
sensibility as to what was true or false in 
literature. On these subjects, his sly hits, 
delicate satire, and racy but honest criticism, 

1 Edinburgh Review, October 1894. 

The Life of 

must prove attractive to all who can enjoy 
the best specimens of English letter- writing. 
Autobiographical glimpses are continually- 
given in his artless way ; he speaks of his 
occupations day by day ; his correspondents 
could see the man he was in these confiding 
allusions to the passing hour. In short, they 
had before them, not only the man, but his 
mode of life, and could foretell with fair 
accuracy his movements, if not his hopes 
and fears of the near future. 


Edward Fitz-Gerald 


It would be difficult to name the exact date 
at which Fitz-Gerald commenced the study 
of Spanish literature ; but it was probably 
about 1850, when he was visiting Professor 
Cowell at Bramford, near Ipswich. Many 
years afterwards, he said, ' All that I know 
of Spanish was taught me by Cowell ; he 
was always the teacher, and I the pupil.' 
The suggestion that he should learn it was 
a very fortunate one, as the study not only 
opened up a new world of interest, but, 
what was better, was the means of awaken- 
ing in Fitz-Gerald the conviction that the 
translation of poems ought to be the future 
labour of his life. He became a great admirer 
of Calderon's plays, said that all Calderon's 


The Life of 

had something beautiful in them, and in 
T ^53 published a free translation of six of 
his dramas. This was the only book to 
which Fitz-Gerald was ever tempted to affix 
his name. The volume is now very scarce, 
as, in consequence of an unfavourable cri- 
tique in the Leader, and a ' more determined 
spit at me' in the Athenceum, Fitz-Gerald 
speedily withdrew it from circulation. He 
felt assured that the translation of Cal- 
deron s Six Dramas was on the whole well 
done and entertaining, yet he fully expected 
that the London Press would condemn it on 
the ground that it was too free. 

Nothing daunted, he very soon com- 
menced the translation of what has always 
been considered the finest of Calderon's 
plays, The Wonder - Working Magician. 
But it was put aside ; and when he knew 
that Professor Cowell was about to return 
to England, he recast his translation, and 
printed a few copies for private circulation. 
An able reviewer has remarked that, with 


Edward Fitz-Gerald 

all its shortcomings, this play of Calderon's 
will always excite and sustain a high degree 
of interest, and it may be characterised 
as the high-water mark of religious and 
philosophical inquiry within the limits of 

Its apparently sceptical character probably 
induced Shelley to give to the world a 
translation of this drama, but the complaint 
against his version was that it was more a 
free paraphrase than an accurate transla- 
tion. It is very likely that the same kind of 
influence operated on Fitz-Gerald, as he 
found that the author's views in this play 
coincided in many ways with his own agnos- 
tic perceptions. He was convinced that the 
problems which have occupied the minds of 
the greatest intellects in all ages are one 
and the same — the contest between humanity 
and the eternal powers of the universe. 

Mr. Owen, author of the Five Great 
Sceptical Dramas of History ', says : ' The 
dramas that have most impressed the minds 


The Life of 

of men have been dramas whose subjects 
and characters have pertained to sceptical 
freethought. Thus the greatest of Greek 
plays is without doubt the Prometheus of 
^Eschylus ; the noblest of Hebrew books, 
with a dramatic plot and character, is the 
Book of Job ; the greatest play of England's 
greatest dramatist is the Hamlet of Shake- 
speare ; the noblest drama of modern poets 
is the Faust of Goethe ; and the same 
problem which has been taken by Calderon, 
for consideration from a Roman Catholic 
point of view, is the finest of his dramas.' 

Fitz-Gerald's great admiration for ^Eschy- 
lus, whom he called the Raffaelle of tragedy, 
and his intense love of Shakespeare, whose 
Hamlet he thought should be read rather 
than acted, are well known to all who are 
familiar with his correspondence. He was 
anxious to make the Wonder -Working 
Magician well known to philosophical stu- 
dents, and of his masterly translation it was 
said that his version reads like an original 


Edward Fitz-Gerald 

composition of the best days of the English 
language. His modest estimate of his own 
intellectual powers received a rude shock 
when, in 1882, a letter arrived from the 
Spanish Ambassador, announcing that the 
Calderon Medal had been awarded to him 
for the beauty of his translations from the 
Spanish dramatist. 

Fitz-Gerald's acquaintance with Spanish 
literature was almost exclusively confined to 
its fiction, and after the translation of the 
Wonder-Working Magician very little is 
heard of his Spanish studies. He was, 
however, so fascinated by Don Quixote, 
when he read it in the original language, 
that he said it was worth learning Spanish 
to enjoy its beauties. He loved the very 
dictionary in which he had to hunt up the 
words he wanted. This love for the Spanish 
Don remained with him to the end of his 
life. When yachting he always had Don 
Quixote on board as a companion. 

Professor Cowell, who had drawn his 

k 145 

The Life of 

attention to Persian as well as Spanish, 
succeeded in inoculating him with a strong 
desire to acquire a thorough knowledge of 
that language. The Professor was well 
aware of the strength of his friend's powers, 
and felt assured that if he once mastered the 
language he would not be satisfied until he 
had translated some of the best Persian 
works for the benefit of English readers. 
Fitz-Gerald always deferred to the judg- 
ment of the Oriental scholar ; and when a 
new poem was named, said he would wait 
until the Professor had read it and was able 
to recommend it for translation. 

In 1853 he began to amuse himself by 
the study of Persian, his friend being his 
guide ; and Fitz-Gerald was pleased to 
think that master and pupil had a subject 
in which a common interest enabled them 
to study together. He was very quick in 
acquiring the rudiments of a language ; and 
with the help of Jones's Grammar, and 
Eastwick's Gulistan, he had the year after 


Edward Fitz-Gerald 

translated an allegory by Jami called Sala- 
man and Absal, though he feared that he 
had stilted the Persian's ingenious prattle 
into Miltonic verse. He also translated, 
but did not print, an abridgment in verse of 
some of Attar's stories, which he thought 
better than J ami's, and he was attracted by 
Hafiz ; but all these were put aside when he 
became well acquainted with the mss. at 
Oxford, the translation of which was to 
make his name famous throughout the 
civilised world. At this, the very com- 
mencement of his Persian labours, he was 
anxious to rub off as little as possible of the 
Oriental colour of the work, but he felt that 
to be successful the translator must recast 
the original more or less into his own 

The f Rubaiyat ' of Omar Khayyam, which 
has now obtained a world-wide reputation, 
was, at the time of Fitz-Gerald's translation, 
almost unknown among the English-speak- 
ing public. Professor Cowell, whilst looking 


The Life of 

over a mass of uncatalogued Oriental mss. 
of Sir William Ousely's in the Bodleian 
Library, accidentally came upon the most 
beautiful Persian ms. he had ever seen. 
Written on thick yellow paper, with purple 
black ink, profusely powdered with gold, 
the attention of the Sanscrit scholar was 
immediately arrested, and on examination 
he found that this was an original ms. of a 
poem by Omar Khayyam. He had not 
previously seen anything by the same author ; 
and the poem, being comparatively free 
from coarseness and ignoble illustrations, 
which so often disfigure Persian authors, 
was a great attraction to him. Pleased with 
it himself, it was not long before he recom- 
mended it to the notice of Fitz-Gerald, who 
at once went to the Bodleian and examined 
with him the hitherto unknown treasure, 
Fitz-Gerald immediately recognising its 
beauty. This was in 1856. In the same 
year the Professor made a transcript of the 
ms. for his own and Fitz-Gerald's use ; and 


Edward Fitz-Gerald 

the latter was so charmed with the poem, 
that for a considerable time the MS. was his 
constant companion. 

When visiting his friend Browne at Bedford 
in June 1857, he read scarcely anything else ; 
and afterwards, at Geldeston Hall, he might 
be seen studying Omar at an open window. 
The result of this continued application was 
that in a short time he thoroughly discerned 
the character of the poem, and acknow- 
ledged that he preferred it to the work of 
any Persian that he had seen. Omar's 
philosophy, he said, is one that never fails 
in the world. ' To-day is ours,' etc. He 
told his friend Cowell, 'You see all his 
beauty, but you don't feel with him in some 
respects as I do.' * Old Omar's poem rings 
like true metal.' He afterwards remarked 
that Omar sang in an acceptable way what 
the generality of men felt in their hearts, 
but had not found expressed by any poet. 

It is time to inquire who was this Omar, 
whose work as a poetic philosopher has won 


The Life of 

for him in a few years an enduring name 
and a large circle of admirers. What can 
be gathered relating to his life may be 
briefly stated. 

In the latter half of the eleventh century 
there lived in Persia an astronomer known 
as Omar, who bore in addition the poetical 
name of Khayyam, which signifies a tent- 
maker. He was born at Naishapur, a city 
in the province of Khorassan, bordered on 
one side by a mountain range, surrounded 
by fertile fields and watercourses, and girded 
by gardens which had an abundance of fruit 
and flowers. It is not certain what was the 
ethnic origin of the man, whether his ex- 
traction was Arab or Iranian, but from his 
name it is conjectured that he belonged to 
the hereditary guild of tentmakers. 

As may be imagined, few facts can be 
obtained respecting the early period of his 
life. Tradition says that he left his birth- 
place and travelled so as to sit at the feet 
of one of the greatest of the wise men of 


Edward Fitz-Gerald 

Khorassan. Of this man it was the uni- 
versal belief that every boy who read the 
Koran, gained knowledge, or studied the 
traditions under his instructions, would win 
the favour of fortune. Be this as it may, 
he became celebrated in algebra ; and studied 
the sciences, more especially astronomy, to 
such good purpose, than when he went to 
Merv his reputation made him a favourite at 
Court, and he was one of the eight learned 
men engaged to revise the old Persian 
Calendar. It is evident that Omar was a 
man of learning and genius ; but his scientific 
work, if not wholly obscure, is not distin- 
guishable in the early annals of astronomy. 

Omar was not an ambitious man. He 
loved the retirement of home and the 
opportunity to study rather than the autho- 
rity of official position. When he returned 
to Naishdpur, the Vizier, a friend of his 
boyhood, obtained for him the offer of a 
Government appointment ; but this he de- 
clined, saying, ' The greatest good you can 


The Life of 

confer on me is to let me live in a corner 
under the shadow of your fortune, to spread 
wide the advantages of science, and pray 
for your long life and prosperity. The 
Vizier was so pleased by the sincerity shown 
by this refusal, that he permitted him to live 
in a garden house in the suburbs of his 
native town, and granted him an annual 
pension from the treasury in order that he 
might devote himself to study. By this 
means he became unrivalled in science, and 
the paragon of his age. He died a natural 
death about 1123 at Naishapur, his old age 
being untroubled. 

The Calcutta ms. gives a story of Omar's 
latter days, which, as Mr. Murray remarks, 
is exquisitely fit and gracious, as it shows 
that humility and the love of nature re- 
mained with him to the end of his life. 
The facts are given by one of his pupils, 
who says : ' I often used to hold conversation 
with my teacher Omar Khayyam in a garden ; 
and one day he said to me, "My tomb shall 


Edward Fitz-Gerald 

be in a spot where the north wind may 
scatter roses over it.'" Years after, when 
this pupil went to see the grave, he found 
it just outside a garden, and trees stretched 
their boughs over the wall, dropping their 
flowers upon his tomb. 

Omar's Epicurean audacity of thought 
and speech caused him to be regarded 
askance in his own time and country. He 
is said to have been especially hated and 
dreaded by the Sufis, whose practice he 
ridiculed, and whose faith amounted to 
little more than his own when stripped of the 
mysticism and formal recognition of Islamism, 
under which Omar would not hide. For 
this, or some other reason, this poet has 
never been popular in his own country, and 
his mss. have been scantily transmitted 
abroad. Still, it must be admitted to be 
a singular thing that such a heterodox and 
seemingly unprofitable poem should have sur- 
vived without the aid of the printing-press 
through the havoc of seven stormy centuries, 


The Life of 

during which Persia and Khorassan have 
been scourged by fire and sword, and the 
frail life of manuscripts must have been in 
constant danger. The outspoken heterodoxy 
of the Rubaiyat also must have rendered 
Omar's writings especially liable to the 
hostile pursuit of Moslem priests. 1 

The position of Omar among Orientalists 
is peculiar. In many respects he contradicts 
preconceived notions of Oriental character. 
Among philosophers his attainments in 
science are at the present day unknown, 
but his fame rests on his poetry, which 
still holds its individuality. Von Hammer 
speaks of him as one of the most notable of 
Persian poets. He was master of his own 
language in its best days. A large number 
of quatrains current under his name are 
undoubtedly spurious, and some of the best 
Persian scholars declare that Omar's may 
be known by their quality, viz. simplicity 
of language, perfection in rhythm, and 

1 Macmillarts Magazine •, Nov. 1887. 

Edward Fitz-Gerald 

epigrammatic completeness. He did not 
favour the world with narrative poetry, but 
occupied himself with the problems of life 
and death, sin and fate, and embodied his 
interpretations in a series of quatrains, a 
peculiar form of four-lined verse, sometimes 
all rhyming, but oftener the third line a 
blank, thus, from first and fourth editions : — 

' Awake ! for morning in the Bowl of Night 
Has flung the stone that puts the stars to flight ; 
And lo ! the Hunter of the East has caught 
The Sultan's Turret in a Noose of Light. 

L I sometimes think that never blows so red 
The Rose as where some buried Caesar bled ; 
That every Hyacinth the Garden wears, 
Dropt in her Lap from some once lovely Head.' 

It is to be observed that there is no co- 
herence in Omar's work. His quatrains are 
arranged in a purely meaningless and 
arbitrary alphabetical order. Here is the 
epigram of a scoffer, there the ejaculation of 
a pious inquirer ; while the carol of a wine- 
bibber is followed by a stanza of tender love. 


The Life of 

It has been said that he is the sole repre- 
sentative of the age of freethought in 
Persia ; whilst a competent judge has de- 
clared that his Rubaiyat is a compound of 
the Sunnite teaching which he enjoyed in 
early life, and of the contempt of religion 
characteristic of the age in which he lived. 

The leading ideas of the Rubaiyat are 
pleasure, death, and fate, and his predomi- 
nant states of mind are the sensuous and 
the rebellious. Wine is the favourite theme ; 
indeed, one gets wearied with the constant 
recurrence of its praise, and with exhorta- 
tions to drink, but we must remember that 
drinking had in the East at that time no 
vulgar associations. Of pleasure he says : — 

1 Life void of wine, and minstrels with their lutes, 
And the soft murmurs of Iranian flutes, 
Were nothing worth ; I scan the world and see, 
Save pleasure, life yields only bitter fruits.' 

One of his disciples has remarked that to 
an age to which the darkest side of alcohol 
has been revealed, the poetry which began 


Edward Fitz-Gerald 

and ended with * wine, and wine, and wine,' 
may seem so far as it goes to jar with 
spiritual ideals ; but leaving aside narrower 
considerations, Omar appeals to much that 
is highest in the aspiration of the human 
soul, and the appeals are couched in deep- 
toned, searching language. 

To comprehend this man of genius and 
learning, whose work stands out so promi- 
nently in the midst of the conventional 
poetry of Persia, the time in which he lived 
must be considered. It was the period of 
the first crusade. The orthodox creed of 
the early Moslem Arabs was cooling down 
into culture and cant. The Persians had 
not accepted it, and their old Zoroastrian 
creed yielded slowly before the fierce per- 
suasions of the Crescent. 

Can we be surprised that the work of 
such an author, who is acknowledged to be 
an unparalleled figure in the usually con- 
ventional literature of the East, should be 
an attraction to Edward Fitz - Gerald ? 


The Life of 

What has been described as the irreligious 
tone of Omar's Rubaiyat would not be 
likely to repel his translator, as he himself 
had drifted a long way from orthodoxy. 
Some Persian scholars consider that Omar, 
though not orthodox, was more of a 
doubter than a disbeliever, and this was 
Fitz-Gerald's position. Dr. Thompson, the 
Master of Trinity College, writing to a 
friend, said, ' One of the finest living men 
among my intimates, Edward Fitz-Gerald, 
was prisoner in Doubting Castle the last 
half of his life.' In fact, the poetic philo- 
sopher and his translator were twin spirits 
walking the earth seven hundred years 
apart. Omar said, ' We are helpless — thou 
hast made us what we are ' ; and Fitz- 
Gerald desired that if any text was put 
upon his tombstone, it should be this : It 
is he that hath made us, and not we our- 
selves,' identical in idea, though not in 

I have said that many of Omar's quatrains 


Edward Fitz-Gerald 

ridicule current creeds and systems, but 
these were saturated with the priestcraft of 
the age. He was most tender to the dumb 
life of the world around him, and he finely 
said that it was ' better to be touched by 
God's pure light within a tavern, than be in 
darkness within His temple.' And again, 
' Dogmas admit only what is obliging to the 
Deity, but refuse not thy bit of bread to 
another, guard thy tongue from speaking 
evil, and seek not the injury of any being, 
and then I undertake on my own account 
to promise thee Paradise.' Of Creeds he 
wrote : — 

' Although the Creeds number seventy-and-three, 
I hold with none but that of loving thee.' 

A careful study of Omar convinced Fitz- 
Gerald of the value of the Rubaiyat, and so 
embued his poetic mind with enthusiasm 
for the author, that he resolved to translate 
him in a way that would make the words of 
the poet almost his own : — 


The Life of 

' Vex not to-day with wonder which were best, 
The Student, Scholar, Singer of the West, 
Or Student, Scholar, Singer of the East, 
The Soul of Omar burned in Edward's breast. 

The resolution to execute this translation 
in a way worthy of itself soon brought him 
face to face with various difficulties. His 
friend Cowell, who had aided him greatly in 
the study of Persian, was just at this time 
appointed Professor of History at the Pre- 
sidency College, Calcutta, and soon after- 
wards went to India. This was a sad blow 
to Fitz-Gerald, who, being naturally indolent, 
needed the stimulus to regular work which 
his more industrious friend was able to give, 
and for a time he seemed to have lost his 
right hand. But the absence of Mr. Cowell 
brought its compensations ; it fortunately 
led to his writing to him by every mail, 
explaining his progress and his difficulties, 
and the replies were encouraging. He had 
Cowell's copy of the Bodleian mss. of Omar 
Khayyam in his possession, and not many 

1 60 

Edward Fitz-Gerald 

months elapsed before the professor sent 
him a copy of the Omar ms. in the Asiatic 
Society's Library at Calcutta. To perfect 
himself in Persian, whilst staying with his 
brother Peter at Twickenham, he made a 
copy of Professor Cowell's transcript from 
the Bodleian mss., and sent it to a volatile 
Frenchman, Garcin de Tassy, ' in return for 
courtesies received.' 

When the discovery was made at the 
Bodleian, it was thought that the writings 
of Omar were very scarce ; but though they 
are known to be rare, it is now admitted 
that there are in existence nearly twelve 
hundred stanzas, 1 which are ascribed to the 
Persian philosopher. Not more than a third 
of these are believed to be genuine, and 
the mss. are widely distributed. There is 
no copy at the India House, none at the 
Bibliotheque Nationale at Paris. Only one 
is known in England, No. 140 of the 
Ouseley mss. at the Bodleian, written at 

1 Macmillari's Magazine. 
L l6l 

The Life of 

Shiroz a.d. 1460. This contains but 158 
Rubaiyat. One in the Asiatic Society's 
Library at Calcutta contains 516, though 
these are swollen to that number by all 
kinds of repetition and corruption. Von 
Hammer speaks of his copy as containing 
about 200, while Dr. Sprenger catalogues 
the Lucknow ms. at double that number. 
Professor Cowell, whilst in India, met with 
a copy of a very rare edition printed at 
Calcutta in 1836. This contains 438 Te- 
trastichs, with an appendix containing others 
not found in fome mss. 

Fitz-Gerald had copies of the Bodleian 
and the Calcutta mss., as well as the Paris 
edition by M. Nicolas, to examine, and he 
soon found that the first part of his task 
was selection. This he set about with great 
diligence, promptly recognising his vocation 
as a translator. As a translator and more. 
For he worked ' on the theory that transla- 
tion must be paraphrased to be readable, 
and that to retain forms of verse and 


Edward Fitz-Gerald 

thought irreconcilable with English language 
and English ways of thinking was fatal to 
vitality.' 1 He believed that the philosophy 
of Omar Khayyam might be woven together 
from the stray threads scattered throughout 
the Rubaiyat, although of itself it is frag- 
mentary, and contains no evidence that the 
quatrains were parts of a consecutive whole. 
Indeed, it seems more likely that they were 
' thrown off at intervals between the wine- 
cup and the calendar' at various periods, 
and were collected by some of his disciples 
after his death. 

It is not at all likely that the Rubaiyat 
in its original form would have pleased the 
generality of English readers. It is too 
remote in time and place, too quaint, too 
detached and jerky. Fitz-Gerald saw this ; 
and though full of humility as to his own 
powers, he was conscious that he had the 
faculty of making some things readable 
which others had left unreadable. He dis- 

1 Quarterly Review », Oct. 1894. 

The Life of 

played his genius as a translator ; and what 
is so desirable in such a matter, succeeded 
in producing on his reader the effect of the 
original. He became interpreter as well 
as translator. He brought the scattered 
quatrains together, and aimed to give ex- 
pression to Omar's philosophy in better 
proportion than the Persian did for him- 
self. His skill was shown by the manner 
in which he moulded them into a poem, 
flexible in form, while preserving the in- 
tegrity of each stanza. He was wonder- 
fully successful in setting thoughts and 
phrases from the Persian in English verse, 
and equally successful in catching their 
rhythm. Though he has transposed and 
condensed in what some scholars call a 
reckless fashion, it is now pretty generally 
admitted that 'whatever he touched he 
turned into poetic gold, yet at the same 
time the gold in another form was in the 
original,' and he thus laid the work of 
Omar Khayyam before the English public 


Edward Fitz-Gerald 

in so attractive a form as to link his name 
with that of Omar for all time. 

The translation completed, the question 
arose how he could best introduce it to 
the literary world. Frasers Magazine was 
at that time one of the best — if not the 
best — channel for such a purpose. It 
happened that Mr. Parker, its publisher, 
had sometime previously asked him to send 
a contribution. Now that he had finished, 
to his satisfaction, the translation of a 
number of Omar's quatrains into English 
verse, Fitz-Gerald knew that he had a 
novelty to offer, and having penned a brief 
introduction, he forwarded the article to 
Parker. The receipt of the contribution 
was acknowledged, and it was intimated 
in addition that the editor had accepted 
it. Month after month Fitz-Gerald looked 
in vain for its appearance. The ms. over 
which he had spent much time and labour 
reposed quietly in the editor's drawer. 
Having waited more than twelve months 


The Life of 

and waited in vain, he became convinced 
that the editor or publisher was afraid to 
print the translation, and he thereupon 
withdrew it and determined to issue it 
himself. His courage in taking this course 
is to be commended. 

He immediately set about enlarging the 
work to nearly double its size, by adding a 
number of quatrains which he had withheld 
out of regard to the prejudices of the readers 
of Fraser, and he prepared to publish it him- 
self in pamphlet form. One of his reviewers 
has remarked that now began the ' dismal 
business of trying to find a publisher bold 
enough to embark on the perilous enter- 
prise of printing this little book of immortal 
music called the Rubaiyat of Omar Khay- 
yam.' It does not appear to have been a 
dismal business to Fitz-Gerald. Beyond send- 
ing the magazine article to Parker, there is 
no evidence that he sought a publisher. In 
1850, whilst hunting for old books, he be- 
came acquainted with Mr. Bernard Quaritch, 


Edward Fitz-Gerald 

the well known London bookseller. Busi- 
ness acquaintance ripened into personal 
friendship. When his version of the 
Rubaiyat was ready, he had it printed as 
a small quarto pamphlet of twenty-one 
pages, with thirteen pages of introduction. 
He ordered it to be put in brown paper 
wrappers, withheld his name as author, but 
used Mr. Quaritch's name as publisher 
without asking his permission, and fixed 
the price at Five Shillings! His want of 
business tact is shown by the way in which 
he announced its publication. It does not 
appear to have been advertised in any news- 
paper or literary periodical, and Mr Quaritch 
is not aware that copies were sent for review. 
Its publication was simply made known by 
the appearance of title and price in Mr. 
Quaritch's Oriental catalogue! Fitz-Gerald 
gave copies to a few friends, among them 
William Bodham Donne, and the eccentric 
George Borrow. He sent one to Professor 
Cowell at Calcutta, who, he says, was 


The Life of 

naturally alarmed at it, ' he being a very 
religious man ' ; but his friend Thomas 
Carlyle was twelve years in finding out that 
Fitz-Gerald was the translator of Omar. 
Thus in beggarly disguise as to paper and 
print and binding appeared that matchless 
translation of Fitz-Gerald's, of which Tenny- 
son years after wrote — that — 

' Golden Eastern lay, 
Than which I know no version done 
In English more distinctly well. 
A Planet equal to the Sun 

Which cast it, that large infidel 
Your Omar.' 

Around the publication there hangs quite 
a halo of romance. Mr. Justin Huntly 
M'Carthy has remarked that the fate of 
Edward Fitz-Gerald's Omar Khayyam is 
almost unique in literature. Certainly few 
books have had so strange a destiny. In 
the published letters of Fitz-Gerald there is 
no evidence (a letter from Mr. Ruskin 
excepted) that it attracted the smallest 
attention, or in any way brought either 


Edward Fitz-Gerald 

praise or blame from the outside world. To 
the admirers of Omar and Fitz-Gerald, it 
seems marvellous that this magnificent 
poem, the fame of which is now heard in all 
the literary circles of Europe and America, 
should, at the time of its publication, be so 
dismal a failure as to become a complete 
drug in the market. The story of this 
lamentable failure has been given before, 
but not exactly as Mr. Quaritch told it to 
me. The real facts I now give mainly in 
his own words. 

In 1859, Edward Fitz-Gerald went to the 
shop of Mr. Bernard Quaritch in Castle 
Street, Leicester Square, and dropped a 
heavy parcel there, saying, ' Quaritch, I 
make you a present of these books.' 

The parcel consisted of nearly two hun- 
dred copies of the first edition of the 
Rubdiydt of Omar Khayydm. Mr. Quaritch 
tried to sell the books, first at half-a-crown, 
then at a shilling, and again descending he 
offered them at sixpence, but buyers were 


The Life of 

not attracted. Then, in despair, he reduced 
the book to one penny, and put copies into 
a box outside his door with a ticket, 'all 
these at one penny each.' At that price the 
pamphlet moved, in a few weeks the lot was 
sold, and in this way one of the finest gems 
of English literature was dispersed among a 
not over discerning public. It thus appears 
that had it not been for Mr. Bernard 
Quaritch's penny box the whole first edition 
would have remained unsold, and in all 
probability no more would have been heard 
of Omar Khayyam, or of Edward Fitz- 
Gerald in connection with him. 

As might be expected, the originally ne- 
glected translation in a few years grew greatly 
in demand. In some ways the reaction was 
more extreme than the previous neglect. 
There is a legend floating about that such 
remarkable men as Dante Gabriel Rossetti, 
Algernon Charles Swinburne, and Captain 
Richard Burton, were among those who dis- 
covered the hidden treasure in the penny box. 


Edward Fitz-Gerald 

Mr. Edward Clodd has favoured me with 
the following note : — 

Mr Swinburne told me that a day or two 
after he bought his copy he returned to the 
penny box, but found the stock sold out, 
and Mr George Meredith has often narrated 
to me how, when awaiting a visit from Mr 
Swinburne at Esher, he saw the poet ap- 
proaching and flourishing a brown brochure, 
which he must fain sit down to read through 
to his host, despite a cooling luncheon to 
tempt him to postpone the reading. And 
an immediate effect of Fitz-Gerald's verses 
on Mr. Swinburne's mind was the com- 
position of some of the stanzas of Laus 

These men, all of them poets by nature, 
speedily recognised the genius which these 
pages displayed — they felt that here was a 
man who was as much a poet as was Omar 
himself. They made known the beauty of 
Fitz-Gerald's version, which gained favour 
slowly but surely. Each of this trio of 


The Life of 

poets proclaimed its value among his friends, 
and through it became devotees of Omar. 
Being men of culture, whose judgment could 
be trusted, the disciples of Omar gradually 
increased, from a small band to a growing 
army of intellectual men and women. 

Yet it was not until 1868 that the demand 
for a second edition of the translation was 
sufficient to justify republication. A third 
was issued in 1872, and a fourth in 1879. 
These were all issued, well printed, and 
well bound by Mr. Quaritch at his own 
expense. That gentleman paid the author 
a small honorarium for each edition, and 
Fitz-Gerald gave it away in charity. One 
of these payments was his contribution to 
a Persian Famine Fund. These several 
editions were issued during the life of the 
translator, but without his name. Each had 
alterations and additions, by which the 
number of stanzas was increased. The 
first edition had seventy-five, the second a 
hundred and ten. 


Edward Fitz-Gerald 

The popularity of the book in the United 
States may be understood from the large 
number of copies printed, ranging in price 
from 20 cents to 25 dollars. One of these 
editions is pre-eminent for the beauty of its 
printing — old style type, with ornamental 
head bands in gold and colours. Another 
was printed in folio, cloth gilt, with fifty-six 
full page engravings from drawings by Elihu 
Veddor. One publisher in the State of 
Maine has, since 1894, issued five editions, 
each of which numbered a thousand copies. 
In 1 90 1, when the copyright of the first 
edition will have run out in England, a host 
of cheap issues, testifying to the immortality 
of the poem, will doubtless appear. 

In another aspect the reaction has be- 
come almost a mania. Among the disciples 
of Omar a strong desire sprang up to have a 
copy of Fitz-Gerald's first edition. There 
was a craving for the brown paper covered 
pamphlet to be placed with their literary 
treasures. Mr Huntly M'Carthy, writing 


The Life of 

in 1889 of the first edition not finding 
buyers, and being ultimately dispersed at 
a penny a copy, said, ' The man who could 
buy these two hundred copies back now at a 
guinea a copy would be making a magnifi- 
cent bargain. The last time I saw a copy 
of the first edition quoted in a bookseller's 
catalogue it was priced at four guineas, and 
I do not imagine that it would be easy to 
get one at that price now. Until 1898 six 
pounds was considered a big price at a sale 
for a copy of the first edition, but now it is 
worth more than its weight in gold. In 
February 1898 a copy was offered for sale 
in Sotheby's Rooms. There was nothing 
remarkable about it. It was simply an. 
ordinary copy in its original wrapper, and 
after a very smart competition, the lot was 
knocked down for ^21. The increasing 
admiration for the translator, and its rarity, 
sent up its price by leaps and bounds. 
What seems almost as marvellous as the 
price is the fact that the book was bought 


Edward Fitz-Gerald 

for Mr. Quaritch, who, nearly forty years 
previous, had sold the very same copy for 
one penny. 

No doubt can exist as to Fitz-Gerald's 
ability as a translator ; but regard for his 
memory, and reverence for his work, induce 
me to quote a few authorities on the subject. 

Professor Charles Eliot Norton, of Har- 
vard University, in the North American 
Review, speaking of Fitz-Gerald and his 
work, says : — 

'He is to be called translator only in 
default of a better word, one which should 
express the poetic transfusion of a poetic 
spirit from one language to another, and the 
re-representation of the ideas and images of 
the original in a form not altogether diverse 
from their own, but perfectly adapted to the 
new conditions of time, place, custom, and 
habit of mind in which they reappear. It 
has all the merit of a remarkable original 
production, and its excellence is the highest 
testimony that could be given to the 


The Life of 

essential impressiveness and worth of the 
Persian poet. It is the work of a poet : 
not a copy, but a reproduction ; not a trans- 
lation, but a re-delivery of a poetic inspira- 
tion. In its English dress it reads like 
the latest and freshest expression of the 
perplexity and of the doubt of the genera- 
tion to which we ourselves belong.' 

Dr. Talcot Williams, the eminent Arabic 
scholar, remarks : ' In my judgment, Omar 
owes more to Fitz-Gerald than he does to 
himself, as far as English readers are 
concerned. I do not mean by this, that 
Omar's thoughts differ from the utterances 
of Fitz-Gerald's translation, but the utter- 
ance owes so much in our language to the 
form in which Fitz-Gerald has cast it.' 

His Excellency, the American Ambas- 
sador, Colonel John Hay, has kindly 
permitted me to make use of the address 
which he delivered to the members and 
friends of the Omar Khayyam Club in 
December 1897. He said, I can never 


Edward Fitz-Gerald 

forget my emotions when I first saw Fitz- 
Gerald's translation of the Quatrains. 
Keats, in his sublime ode on Chapman's 
Homer, has described the sensation once 
for all : — 

" Then felt I like some watcher of the skies, 
When a new planet swims into his ken." 

' The exquisite beauty, the faultless, the 
singular grace of those amazing stanzas, 
were not more wonderful than the depth 
and breadth of their profound philosophy, 
their knowledge of life, their dauntless 
courage, their serene facing of the ultimate 
problems of life and of death. Of course 
the doubt arose, which has assailed many as 
ignorant as I was of the literature of the 
East, whether it was the poet or his 
translator to whom was due this splendid 
result. Could it be possible that in the 
Eleventh Century, so far away as Kho- 
rassan, so accomplished a man of letters 
lived, with such distinction, such breadth, 
m 177 

The Life of 

such insight, such calm disillusion, such 
cheerful and jocund despair ? My doubt 
lasted only till I came upon a literal trans- 
lation of the Rubaiyat, and I saw that not 
the least remarkable quality of Fitz-Gerald's 
poem was its fidelity to the original. In 
short, Omar was an earlier Fitz-Gerald, 
or Fitz-Gerald was a re-incarnation of 

'It is not to the disadvantage of the 
later poet that he followed so closely in the 
footsteps of the earlier. A man of extra- 
ordinary genius had appeared in the world, 
had sung a song of incomparable beauty 
and power in an environment no longer 
worthy of him, in a language of a narrow 
range ; for many generations the song was 
virtually lost ; then by a miracle of creation, 
a poet, a twin brother in spirit to the first, 
was born, who took up the forgotten poem 
and sang it anew with all its original 
melody and force, and all the accumulated 
refinement of ages of art. It seems to me 


Edward Fitz-Gerald 

idle to ask which was the greater master, 
each seemed greater than his work. Omar 
sung to a half barbarous province ; Fitz- 
Gerald to the world. Wherever English 
is spoken or read, the Rubaiyat have taken 
their place as a classic. 

' Certainly our poet can never be 
numbered among the great popular writers 
of all time. He has told no story. He 
has never unpacked his heart in public, he 
has never thrown the reins on the neck of 
the winged horse, and let his imagination 
carry him where it listed. But he will 
hold a place for ever among that limited 
number, who, like Lucretius and Epicurus, 
without rage or defiance, even without 
unbecoming mirth, look deep into the 
tangled mysteries of things, refuse credence 
to the absurd and allegiance to arrogant 
authority, sufficiently conscious of fallibility 
to be tolerant of all opinions, with a faith 
too wide for doctrine and a benevolence 
untramelled by creed, too wise to be 


The Life of 

wholly poets, and yet too surely poets to be 

implacably wise.' 

The Right Honble. H. H. Asquith, in 

his address to the members of the ' Omar 

Khayyam Club ' in April 1898, said : ' You 

have had many appreciations of Omar from 

far more capable hands than mine. Nor 

has he escaped faithful treatment from the 

critics, who shake their sorrowful heads 

over his manifold lapses from the path of 

orthodox belief and correct conduct. A 

poet who avows that he sampled and 

rejected the various beliefs which were on 

exhibition in the market of his day — who 

tells us that he 

" Evermore 
Came out by the same door wherein he went," 

bears a perilous resemblance to the 
agnostic, whom some of us have met. 
The preacher who exhorts his followers 
to abandon the wearing pursuit of the 
secret of life — to sit down and fill their 
cups with "the old familiar juice," and 


Edward Fitz-Gerald 

not to "heed the rumble of a distant 
drum," is not very far from the "stye 
of Epicurus." Why is it that, from the 
moment the genius of Fitz-Gerald made 
him known to all who speak the English 
language, he had taken rank with the 
immortals, whom no change of taste or 
fashion can dethrone ? I do not pretend 
to give a full answer to the question, but 
there are one or two considerations which 
are obvious. First, as regards form; 
apart from the strange fascination of the 
metre, there is within a narrow compass, 
in point of actual bulk, a wholeness and 
completeness in Omar, which belongs only 
to the highest art. There is nothing 

in Omar's work that could be added or 
taken away without injuring its perfection. 
Then as regards substance, where else in 
literature has the littleness of man, as 
contrasted with the trifling infinitude of 
his environment, the direct result of 
serenity and acquiescence, been more 


The Life of 

brilliantly or more powerfully enforced? 
The " million bubbles that the Eternal 
Saki pours from his bowl," the clay which 
is responsive under the treating of the 
potter, the ball that is thrown hither and 
thither about the field, the "helpless pawns" 
that the great player moves into impossible 
positions with an inscrutable purpose, the 
endless procession of empty pageantries, 
the sultans and heroes who are, with all 
their pomp and pride, after all but passing 
inmates of the " Father's Caravan-Serai " — 
such is the crowd of vivid and moving 
images which Omar's panorama presents to 
us. As we gaze upon it, the great men 
who seemed to the intoxicated vision of 
their own time to be the dominating forces 
of the world, are seen to be but the 
flickering notes in the sunbeam, the crest 
raised by a gust of wind upon the rising 
and falling wave. 

" The wine of life keeps oozing drop by drop, 
The leaves of life keep falling one by one." 


Edward Fitz-Gerald 

' These, if I understand them right, 
are the thoughts and pictures with which 
Omar and Fitz-Gerald have permanently 
enriched the poetry of the world.' 

Mr. Swinburne has expressed the wish 
that 'the soul and spirit' of Omar's 
thoughts may be tasted in that most 
exquisite English translation, sovereignly 
faultless in form and colour of verse, 
which gives to those ignorant of the East 
a relish of the treasure, and a delight in 
the beauty of its wisdom. 

Mr. Justin Huntly M'Carthy, in the 
Westminster Gazette, writes: — 'An English 
country gentleman came across the works 
of a Persian poet, which appeared to him 
to repay translation, and he certainly would 
have been greatly surprised if he had been 
told that forty years later the English- 
speaking race would cherish with familiar 
affection the name of a Persian poet, and 
place the country gentleman's translation 
among the Classics.' 


The Life of 

Mr. Edward Clodd says: — 1 'The themes 
of the Rubaiyat are perennial. As magnet 
to the pole, the spirit of man turns to the 
questions which the ancients asked, to 
which no answer comes ; to which each 
man must find such solution as he can. 
The limitations of knowledge which no 
man's experience can transcend ; the 

silence of the past, the return of none 
of the great company who have gone 
behind the veil through which I might 
not see ; the transitoriness of all things ; 

" Whether at Naishaprir or Babylon, 

Whether the cup with sweet or bitter run, 
The wine of Life keeps oozing drop by drop, 
The leaves of Life keep falling one by one ; " 

the sympathy these thoughts engender 
in face of our common frailty and common 
destiny ; the cheeriness, withal, which 
with other preachers, old and new, bids a 
man "bend to what he cannot break," 

1 A Pilgrimage to the Grave of Edward Fitz-Gerald. By 
Edward Clodd. (Privately printed for the Members of the 
Omar Khayyam Club, 1894.) 


Edward Fitz-Gerald 

"rejoice in his youth," "take the cash 
and let the credit go," and refuse nought 
that ministers to life's completeness ; are 
they not written in the Rubdiydt of Omar 
Khayyam ? And it is the transmutation 
of these into our virile English tongue by 
the subtle alchemy of Edward Fitz-Gerald 
that has secured him an everlasting name.' 

Fitz-Gerald's fame rests upon his Persian 
translations, and I need not enter into 
details respecting those which he made 
from the Greek. As he said they were 
intended to interest persons who knew 
not the original ; he thought they might 
be more attracted by his curious version 
in which textual difficulties were disposed 
of in a summary manner, than they would 
be by translations of greater ability. But 
by his droll mode of publication this class 
of readers was not likely to see the 
pamphlets which he had provided for their 
edification. His translation from Sophocles 
was partly done, and then dropped for 


The Life of 

several years ; he only completed it when 
strongly urged to do so by Professor 
Norton. In this case he united two 
Tragedies in one Drama, which, he said, 
was neither a paraphrase nor a translation 
of Sophocles, but chiefly taken from him. 

His version of the 'Agamemnon' was 
equally daring. He printed a few copies 
to give away, but they had neither name 
of author, title-page, nor imprint, and were 
issued in a hideous cover of grocers' 
azure. 1 From scholars in America there 
came a demand for what he called ' this 
version or perversion of ^schylus,' and 
Mr Quaritch asked to be allowed to 
reprint it on his own account. The re- 
quest was granted, ' but,' said Fitz-Gerald, 
' Quaritch will print it so pretentiously that 
it looks as if one thought it very precious. 
For, whatever the merits of it may be, it 
can't come near all this fine paper, margin, 
etc.' So modesty had its way to the last. 

1 Fortnightly Review, July 1889. 


Edward Fitz-Gerald 


Fitz-Gerald's distaste for society caused 
him to keep within the walls of his own 
home, and the companionship of books 
became one of the greatest elements in his 
happiness. Sitting in the room in which 
some of his favourite volumes were stored, 
he would take down a volume for the fifth 
or sixth time, and was as well pleased as if 
he were having a hearty shake of the hand 
from a dear old friend. He had as much 
affection for his books as he had for a dog 
or any living animal. He divided them, as 
he divided men, into sheep and goats, and 
those which he selected were to him not 
dead things ; they spoke to him of men and 
times of the past, which had left their im- 
pression to enrich the present. His favour- 


The Life of 

ites were those in which the writers were 
transparent — men and women who exhibited 
themselves in the printed page, and with 
whom he could hold sweet communion, as if 
they were bodily present in his room. His 
ability as a linguist gave an extra zest to his 
reading, as it enabled him to read the works 
of the giants of literature — French, Spanish, 
German, Italian, and Persian, in the lan- 
guage in which they were penned. Ascetic 
as he was in many respects, books full of 
passion and tenderness were to him pearls of 
great price. Even a cursory perusal of his 
letters will show how extensive was his 
reading, how discriminating was his criti- 
cism, and a library which contained side by 
side John Henry Newman's Parochial 
Sermons, The Quatrains of Omar Khay- 
ydm, Montaigne's Essays, and John Wesley's 
Journal, shows his catholicity as well as 
eclectic taste. 

His collection of books was not so large 
as one might expect a gentleman of wealth 


Edward Fitz-Gerald 

and culture to get together, but it embraced 
works in a variety of languages, and on a 
diversity of subjects. Science was appar- 
ently neglected, whilst history was only 
sparingly recognized. He was at no pains 
to secure the complete works of any author, 
but he selected for his library what he 
deemed the best productions of his favour- 
ites, and his judgment was not often at fault. 
Wordsworth's own library was said to have 
been one of the most wretched that ever 
went by that name — a mere litter of tattered 
odd volumes on a few shelves. The small- 
ness of Carlyle's library, perhaps the 
smallest, excepting mere books of reference, 
that ever belonged to a great man of letters, 
was notorious. Fitz-Gerald's was very 
different from these, as it extended to con- 
siderably more than a thousand volumes. 
With his books he was most intimately 
acquainted ; he could easily and lovingly dis- 
course on their contents, and with the peculi- 
arities of their authors he was no less familiar. 


The Life of 

He had no mania for rare books ; at any 
rate he did not purchase them because they 
were rare. Neither did he feel prompted to 
lay out his money on first editions. He had 
first editions of Tennyson and Thackeray, 
but they were presentation copies from his 
two dear old friends. He judged a book by 
its contents, no factitious or conventional 
value — such as large paper, tall or uncut 
copies, which would be proudly offered by a 
bookseller, had any influence on his judg- 
ment. Folio or quarto volumes he disliked 
(though he had some of each) as they were 
not handy to use. He liked a book that he 
could carry to the fire and hold readily in 
his hand. In 1834 he bought a second and 
also a third folio of Shakespeare, and they 
delighted him much, but later in life, the 
Cambridge edition being octavo was his 
favourite book for use, whenever he wanted 
to refer to the ' sweet swan of Avon ! ' 

He did not appreciate ornamental bind- 
ing, and very few volumes on his shelves 


Edward Fitz-Gerald 

were decorated by special tooling. Some 
were bound in vellum, some in Russia, but 
these were works which were printed and 
bound in Paris, Madrid, or Amsterdam. 
Some two or three hundred volumes were 
half calf, green with red label. These were 
bound by a Woodbridge bookbinder, and 
Fitz-Gerald had them done in this style, be- 
cause many of them were placed in the room 
which he used most, and the colour suited 
his failing eyesight. Judging from the 
appearance of his books as a whole, he pro- 
bably never had a volume bound by Zhaens- 
dorf or Riviere, or any such artistic book- 
binder in his life. A few volumes appeared 
in half morocco, but most of them were 
dingy in look, in cloth bindings as issued 
by the publishers, or if old were calf or half 
calf as purchased. His neighbour and 
friend Captain Brooke of Ufford, gloried in 
having his books bound in the best and 
most artistic style. Not so Fitz-Gerald. 
Only three works of his were adorned, even 


The Life of 

with gilt edges. Tusser's Five Hundred 
Points of Good Husbandry was clothed in 
half red morocco, gilt, with top edge gilt, 
and Major Moor's Suffolk Words and 
Phrases was bound in morocco, extra gilt, 
but these came from his father's library. 

One small book attracted attention, and 
hereby hangs a tale. This special volume, 
bound in dark green morocco extra, was 
Songs of Innocence by William Blake, the 
mystic poet, who was his own illustrator. 
Fitz-Gerald bought this when he was only 
twenty-two years of age, and writing to his 
friend W. B. Donne soon afterwards he 
says, ' I have lately bought a little pamph- 
let, which is very difficult to get, called the 
Songs of Innocence, written and adorned 
with three coloured drawings by W. Blake, 
who it was said was quite mad, but his mad- 
ness was really the elements of genius ill 
sorted ; when I see you I will show you this 
book. Fitz-Gerald does not say what this 
small pamphlet cost him, probably only a 


Edward Fitz-Gerald 

few shillings, but at the sale of his books at 
Sotheby & Wilkinson's, this dainty little 
volume realised ^34 ! 

Many other volumes from his library sold 
well at Sotheby's. Thackeray's books 
fetched high prices. The Second Funeral 
of Napoleon and the Chronicles of the 
Drum, illustrated but unbound, were 
knocked down at £6, 10s. But the gem of 
Thackeray's books in the sale was his 
Illustrations to Undine. It had no title, but 
one was supplied in bistre with ornamental 
design in the centre, and sixteen water 
colour drawings were inserted, all designed 
and executed by Thackeray's own hand. 
This volume bound in dark green morocco 
brought £ij. There was a note on the fly- 
leaf by Fitz-Gerald thus: — 'The drawings 
in this volume were made by W. M. 
Thackeray, as we sat talking together, two 
mornings in the spring of 1835 or 1836 at the 
house of his stepfather, Carmichael Smith, 
in Albion Street, Hyde Park, London.' 
n 193 

The Life of 

Thackeray, like Hogarth, could always 
make his pictures tell his story, and looking 
at the wit and humour displayed in many of 
his sketches, good judges have felt that had 
he applied himself to this department of Art, 
he would have been a second Hogarth. He 
used to throw about his pen and ink draw- 
ings as if they were worth nothing. Fitz- 
Gerald had an album full of them. They 
were executed by the artist during the 
twenty years 1829 to 1849. 

' Little Grange,' the house in which he 
last lived, was not particularly small, but as 
his nieces every year occupied the best 
rooms, he was restricted as to places for 
shelving, and his books were necessarily 
scattered about. The study, as the room 
was called, in which he more commonly than 
not lived and slept, was partitioned off so as 
to make two rooms, one for sleeping, the 
other for meals and reading and writing ; 
each was about fifteen feet by seventeen. 
The living room which had, in French style, 


Edward Fitz-Gerald 

large folding glazed doors opening into the 
garden, had bookshelves on two sides, and 
there was more shelving in the bedroom. 
The front entrance by the porch was also 

Other volumes were placed in handsome 
cases in the dining and drawing rooms. 
Many volumes were piled under the stair- 
case ; in one of his letters he speaks of 
books which he wished to consult being in- 
conveniently stowed away in a dark closet. 
One of his eccentric habits was to pull leaves 
out of books. Sometimes this iconoclasm 
extended to an entire section. These were 
pages which he deemed mere padding, and 
he thought the book would be improved by 
their removal. But a still more extraordin- 
ary habit in connection with his books was 
revealed after his death. He was in the 
habit of withdrawing from the bank some 
sixty or seventy pounds at a time for general 
expenses. His executors having obtained 
the keys from Merton Rectory, where Mr. 


The Life of 

Fitz-Gerald died, unlocked his desk, and 
finding no cash, made inquiry of the house- 
keeper. ' Mr. Fitz-Gerald,' she replied, 
'generally drew his money in bank notes, 
and he kept them for security between the 
leaves of several books on that shelf,' point- 
ing to one nearest the head of the bed. 
The idea of hunting for five-pound notes, 
among the leaves of an indiscriminate lot of 
volumes on a certain shelf, made the 
executors stare. But search was instantly 
made, and before it was given up, some 
thirty or forty pounds in notes were rescued 
from the leaves of these old volumes. If 
any purchaser at the sale found a note 
among the books he bought, the fact was 
not made known either to the executors or 
to the auctioneer. 

It has been said that the book lover is 
known by his book-plate, the outward sign 
of the true lover of literature. Fitz-Gerald, 
as we have said, had no strong feeling for 
rare or curious books, and would never have 


Edward Fitz-Gcrald 

adorned his notepaper with a gold or silver 
monogram, but he considered it ' correct ' to 
have a book-plate, affixed within the covers 
of each of his volumes, to act as a label and 
herald of his ownership. Fitz-Gerald's 
book-plate is one of those modern examples 
that has an interest both artistic and per- 
sonal. The talents of Sir William Boxall, 
Sir John Millais, Walter Crane, Stacy 
Marks, Kate Greenaway, and others, had 
been called into requisition by various lovers 
of literature to design book-plates for them, 
and it was a happy thought of Fitz-Gerald's 
to ask his friend Thackeray to sketch one 
for him. This he did, and afterwards, in his 
good-natured way, made the drawing on 
the wood block for the engraver. It was 
done one morning in 1842, when these 
staunch friends were together in London. 
It is small in size and belongs to the class of 
heraldic allegoric. The subject is an angel 
holding a shield at her breast, with armorial 
bearings, the name E. Fitz-Gerald being 


The Life of 

below. It is said that in the angel 
Thackeray portrayed Mrs Brookfield. This 
book-plate is scarce, and among collectors 
invariably fetches a good price. Mrs Brook- 
field was the wife of the Rev. William 
Henry Brookfield, a dear friend of Tenny- 
son and Thackeray's, of whom Dr. Thomp- 
son, the Master of Trinity College said, ' he 
was far the most amusing man I ever 

Taking a general glance at his library, we 
see a selection of works which did justice 
alike to his taste and judgment ; at the same 
time it presents to our view those literary 
companions of his solitary life, from which 
he picked his bosom friends. Taking them 
in sections they were as follows : — 


Shakespeare's Dramatic Works (several 
editions) ; Sir John Vambrugh's Plays ; 
Gray's ' Beggars' Opera ; George Lillo's 


Edward Fitz-Gerald 

Dramatic Works ; Kemble's ' Notes on 
Shakespeare ' ; Lamb's ' Specimens of Early 
English Dramatic Poets ; Hazlitt's ' View 
of the English Stage ' ; Fitz-Gerald's ' Life 
of David Garrick ; Boaden's ' Memoir of 
John Philip Kemble ' ; Macready's ' Remi- 
niscences ; Fanny Kemble's ' Records of a 
Girlhood ' ; Marlowe's Works ; Moliere's 
Works, in French and English ; Lumley's 
' Reminiscences of the Opera ' ; Calderon's 
D' Pedro Comedies ; Sophocles ; Euripides ; 
and Aristophanes. 

Dictionaries, &c. 

Johnson's Persian, Arabic, and English 
Dictionary ; Jamieson's ' Dictionary of 
the Scotch Language ' ; Arabic, Anglo- 
Saxon, Danish, and Norse Grammars ; 
Halliwell's 'Dictionary of Provincial Words'; 
Spanish and Italian Dictionaries; Greek 
Lexicon ; Richardson's ' Persian, Arabic, 
and English Vocabulary.' 


The Life of 

Fine Arts. 

Pilkington's ' Dictionary of Painters ; 
Leslie's ' Life of Constable ' ; Fulcher's 
' Life of Gainsborough ; * Life of Sir David 
Wilkie ' ; Krugler's ' Handbook of Paint- 
ing' ; German, Flemish, and Dutch Schools; 
Bewick's ' Land and Water Birds ; ' Our 
People,' Sketched by Charles Keene (from 
the Collection of Mr. Punch) ; Hogarth's 
Works ; ' Our Old Inns,' by Edwin 

Essays and General Literature. 

Madame De Sevigne's ' Letters ' (several 
editions) ; Montaigne's ' Essais,' also the 
first English Translation of Montaigne's 
' Essays ' ; Hazlitt's ' Table Talk ' ; Cole- 
ridge's 'Table Talk'; 'Essays of Elia'; Ray's 
' Collection of English Proverbs ; Moor's 
' Suffolk Words and Phrases ' ; Thomas 
Moore's Memoirs and Journal ; Emer- 
son's ' Essays ; ' Correspondence of Carlyle 
and Emerson ' ; Goethe's ' Conversations 


Edward Fitz-Gerald 

with Eckermann ' ; ' Correspondence be- 
tween Schiller and Goethe ' ; Pepys' ' Diary 
and Correspondence ' ; Bacon's Works ; 
Pascal's Letters ; Milton's Prose Works ; 
Plato's ' Republic' ; Sale's ' Koran ; Sydney 
Smith's Works ; Crabbe Robinson's ' Diary'; 
Macaulay's Letters and Miscellaneous 
Writings ; Trench on the Study of 
Words ; Life and Letters of Keats ; 
' Selections from the Letters of Southey '; 
De Quincey's Works ; Professor Wilson's 
Works ; Lockhart's ' Life of Scott ; John 
Wesley's ' Journal ' ; White's ' Selbourne.' 

Music and Musicians. 

Holme's ' Life and Correspondence of 
Mozart ' ; Beethoven's ' Letters ' ; Mendels- 
sohn's ' Letters ' ; ' Letters of Distinguished 
Musicians ' ; Spohr's ' Autobiography ' ; 
Rossini's Memoirs ; Chorley's ' Modern Ger- 
man Music ; Chorley's ' Thirty Years' 
Musical Recollections'; Gretory, ' Memoires 
Sur la Musique ; Fetis (M), ' La Musique.' 


The Life of 

Poets and Poetry. 

Tennyson's Works ; Tennyson Tur- 
ner's ' Sonnets and Lyrics ' ; Crabbe's 
' Poetical Works ' ; Rogers' ' Poems ' ; 
Wordsworth's Works ; Keat's Poetical 
Works ; Milton's Poetical Works ; ' Don 
Juan ' ; Chaucer's ' Canterbury Tales ; 
Hood's Works ; Homer's ' Iliad ' and 
1 Odyssey ' ; Dante ; Virgil ; ' Omar 
Khayyam's Quatrains/ translated into Eng- 
lish verse by Whinfield ; also Paris edition 
by J. B. Nicolas ; * Petrarque (Fr.) ; 
Aeuyres Hafiz (Dewan) Works in 


Sir Walter Scott's Works ; the principal 
works of Dickens, Thackeray, and Haw- 
thorne ; ' Clarissa Harlowe (two editions) ; 
' Arabian Nights ' ; ' Pilgrim's Progress ' ; 
' Joseph Andrews' ; ' Don Quixote ' (four 
editions) ; ' Gil Bias ' ; Boccaccio's ' De- 


Edward Fitz-Gerald 

When Fitz-Gerald was in his prime, and 
settled at Woodbridge, he made the acquaint- 
ance of an old bookseller residing in Ipswich, 
whose society for some years he very much 
enjoyed, and on whom he bestowed some of 
his patronage. This was Mr. James Read, 
who lived at the corner of the thoroughfare, 
on the east side of the present post 
office buildings. His 'Old Booke Shoppe 
became famous to lovers of literature, 
through the treasures which they found 
therein. Mr. Read himself, however, was 
as much renowned as his books. The very 
appearance of the man, as he stood behind 
his counter, at once proclaimed him a 
kindred spirit of Fitz-Gerald's, and unmis- 
takably a man of mark. There he was, a 
broad-shouldered man of medium height, 
large features, high cheek bones, with a 
good colour in his face, clean shaven, with a 
stand up collar upheld by a satin stock, 
which had seen its best days. His head 
was invariably covered by a tall hat, set well 


The Life of 

back on his head, and noted for its antique 
appearance. He wore a swallow-tail coat, 
which one could see was of black cloth, but, 
although well brushed, its cut and dingy 
look gave the visitor the impression that it 
might have been in use when its owner 
commenced business. A black apron com- 
pleted his attire. I have said that Mr. Read 
was to the lover of old books as attractive 
as his stock. To some he was more so. 
Extensive reading and extraordinary memory 
had made him a walking encyclopaedia. 
Many a student has had good reason to be 
grateful to him for advice as to where he 
could find materials that would elucidate the 
subject he was investigating. A noncon- 
formist himself, he had made the rise of 
dissenters in England a special study, and 
in the history of puritanism his knowledge 
was unrivalled. The true bookworm always 
enjoyed half an hour's chat with him, densely 
surrounded as he was with curiosities of 
literature, in a shop that offered the best 


Edward Fitz-Gerald 

possible proof that its occupier had a horror 
of whitewash. Such book lovers as William 
Powell Hunt, Francis Capper Brooke, 
William Stevenson Fitch, Edward Acton, 
and Professor Cowell were sure to be met 
with every now and then in his shop. Fitz- 
Gerald would lounge in and ramble round 
the place, taking down various volumes as 
he walked along, pointing out their beauties 
or defects in a manner which showed exten- 
sive knowledge. He was particularly fond 
of John Wesley's Journal, and frequently 
bought copies of Mr. Read to give away. 
This was one of the books which he con- 
sidered he could greatly improve by scissors, 
but although this project was often talked 
of, it was never carried out. Mr. Read 
could not be considered a shrewd trades- 
man. He scarcely conducted his business 
in the trading spirit. You could buy what 
you wished or leave it alone. He used to 
lament that book buyers were so few, not 
from a sense of personal loss as regards 


The Life of 

profit, but from a public point of view. A 
non-reading public was a stupid public, 
would be his contention. At the same time, 
his shop was more for students than for the 
casual purchaser. If you appeared to be a 
clergyman, Mr. Read would probably relieve 
his mind upon the conventional style of 
Christianity, which suited the professional 
exponent and the majority of mankind, but 
for which he had nothing short of contempt. 
Many a clergyman must have had an un- 
comfortable quarter of an hour in that old 
dingy shop. At the same time Mr. Read's 
candour was refreshing, and he attacked 
systems rather than men. 

One Sunday morning Mr. Read received 
a letter from Fitz-Gerald asking his company 
at dinner on the following day at ' Little 
Grange.' A conveyance was hired, and Mr. 
Read's partner drove him to Woodbridge. 
Having stabled the horse at the 'Royal 
Oak,' he walked on to ' Little Grange ' and 
rang the bell. The housekeeper, Mrs. 


Edward Fitz-Gerald 

How, speedily made her appearance. ' I've 
called to see Mr. Fitz-Gerald,' says Mr. 
Read. 'You can't see him to-day, sir, ; 
responded the housekeeper. ' But I've come 
from Ipswich by his invitation.' ' Can't help 
it, sir, you will not see him to-day,' was the 
prompt reply. Mr. Read was staggered. 
He fumbled in his breast pocket, and 
brought out Fitz-Gerald's letter to see if he 
made a mistake as to the time. No ; there it 
was plain enough ; he had called exactly at 
the time mentioned ; but as the house- 
keeper's tone showed that she did not mean 
to admit him to the house, he trudged back 
to the 'Royal Oak,' had lunch, and chewed 
the cud of disappointment as he was driven 
home, not forgetting that on a previous visit 
Fitz-Gerald had provided a good dinner, 
with a bottle of Scotch ale, whilst the host, 
instead of sitting down to the entertainment, 
ambled about the room like a caged lion, 
munching a big apple, discussing meanwhile 
literary topics of interest to both. The day 


The Life of 

after the drive to Woodbridge, Mr. Read 
received a letter from Fitz-Gerald stating, 
' I saw you yesterday when you called, but 
I was not fit for company, and felt I could 
not be bothered.' Nothing more incon- 
siderate can be found among the whimsi- 
calities of George Borrow. 

In one of his letters, Fitz-Gerald speaks 
of Captain Brooke of Ufiford, as being • our 
one man of books down here.' In making 
this remark he doubtless thought as much 
of Mr Brooke's scholarship and accurate 
knowledge of books as of the magnificent 
library, upwards of twenty thousand volumes, 
which that gentleman had with zeal and 
money collected, and with which Fitz-Gerald 
often enjoyed himself to his heart's content. 
This remarkable collection ranked among 
the finest private collections in England. A 
gentleman who knew it and its owner well 
says, ' Captain Brooke's acquirements as a 
bibliographer were surprising to those who 
were not acquainted with the large amount 


Edward Fitz-Gerald 

of time and money that he had devoted to 
the study of that science. If fortune had 
not made him a country gentleman, he would 
have been eminent amongst booksellers. He 
spared neither trouble nor expense in mak- 
ing his selections. On one occasion he 
travelled all the way to Rome to attend a 
sale of books. His was a familiar face at 
most of the great sales in this country. It 
was his invariable practice to obtain not 
only the best books, but the best copies. 
In one respect his collection was unique, 
some of the more valuable works being 
author's copies, annotated for use in future 

Captain Brooke was something more than 
a mere book buyer. He was well acquainted 
with the contents of the best works in 
several languages, and having an excellent 
memory, could supply information upon 
most topics with the utmost ease, while he 
was seldom at a loss in finding the necessary 
authorities upon all kinds of odd or abstruse 
o 209 

The Life of 

subjects. Nothing gave him greater plea- 
sure than to place his library at the disposal 
of readers and students. He was often 
heard to say that the one thing he most 
regretted was that more literary men did 
not avail themselves of the opportunity he 
offered, and the only condition he imposed 
was that other people should treat his books 
with something of the care which he himself 
manifested — that they should be gently 
handled, and returned to their proper places 
on the shelves. From all this it may readily 
be supposed that Fitz-Gerald felt himself 
thoroughly at home both with the library 
and its owner. 

Having in previous pages glanced at the 
contents of Fitz-Gerald's library, I would 
now draw attention to those criticisms on 
literature and art which are to be found in 
the published volumes of his Letters. 

These criticisms are of striking signifi- 
cance, not simply because he wrote in a way 
not easily forgotten, but because the reader 


Edward Fitz-Gerald 

finds himself in close alliance with a good 
scholar, free and unconstrained, and nobly 
generous. They exhibit his fine and acute 
perception ; are brisk, fresh, and appropriate. 
It will be admitted that, as a conscientious 
man, Fitz-Gerald pronounced judgment on 
men and things in a kindly spirit, and with 
the authority of intellectual power and keen 
discrimination. Any reader who does not 
endorse his verdicts will generally admire 
the independence which, if not a guarantee 
of perfection, is a bond of fidelity as between 
writer and reader. You read a man's work 
for his convictions, and there is no difficulty 
in getting at Fitz-Gerald's. 

Fitz-Gerald had old-fashioned tastes, and 
in poetry a great love for the ancients. His 
poetical instincts deepened his love for the 
Greek poets, but of them he was not a wide 
reader. Greek poetry to him chiefly meant 
Homer, ^schylus, and Sophocles. 

His love for old English poetry was so 
great that he failed to do justice to some 


The Life of 

modern poets. Of Ebenezer Elliot's poems 
he had an exalted opinion. Longfellow he 
loved, but Shelley was too unsubstantial. 
Browning, with all his power and richness, 
failed to win his approbation. Swinburne 
he described as a fiery, unquiet spirit. Of 
Keats he was an ardent admirer. When 
writing to Frederick Tennyson, he advised 
him to beg, borrow, steal, or buy Keats' 
Letters and Poems. With the Suffolk poet, 
Crabbe, he was, to use a Suffolk phrase, 
wrapped up ; him he was always quoting or 
readjusting. Tennyson was one of his 
dearest friends, but this did not prevent 
Fitz-Gerald from applying trenchant criticism 
to some of his works. The earlier poems 
delighted him, but of In Memoriam he said, 
It is full of the finest things, but it is 
monotonous.' The Northern Farmer and 
some of the Idylls struck his fancy, as they 
have the fancy of so many others. He 
granted that, as a man of genius, Tennyson 
might * still surprise us by poems that will 


Edward Fitz-Gerald 

atone for what seem to me latter day 
failures.' Fitz-Gerald did not live to read 
Crossing the Bar, otherwise he would have 
found that the English people took to it 
almost as a divine conception. 

In the world of Fiction he revelled in Sir 
Walter Scott's works. When he engaged a 
reader he set him night after night to read 
the Waverley novels. His sense of appre- 
ciation may be seen in this — ' I feel in part- 
ing with each volume as parting with an old 
friend whom I may never see again.' Of 
Dickens he wrote — 'I for one worship 
Dickens in spite of Carlyle and the critics, 
and wish to see his Gad's Hill, as I wished 
to see Shakespeare's Stratford and Scott's 
Abbotsford.' In his latter years Thackeray's 
novels were to him terrible ; he looked at 
them on the shelf, but seemed reluctant to 
touch them. Fitz-Gerald acknowledged 
that his books were wonderful, but they 
were not delightful, and delight ' one thirsts 
for as one gets old and dry. He was very 


The Life of 

pleased with Barchester Towers, which, 
though not perfect, was perfect enough to 
make him feel that he knew the people, even 
if caricatured or carelessly drawn. Ulti- 
mately Trollope had no more ardent 
admirer. Twenty years before his decease 
he said, ' I am now reading Clarissa Har- 
lowe for the fifth time.' He preferred the 
sentimentalism of Richardson to the realism 
of Fielding. Miss Austen's novels remained 
without a rival in Macaulay's affections, but 
by them Fitz-Gerald was not smitten. ' I 
think Miss Austen quite capable, in a circle 
I have found quite unendurable to walk in.' 
He could not take to George Eliot's novels, 
and though recognising Hawthorne as the 
most marked man of genius America had 
produced in the way of imagination, yet he 
never found any appetite for his books. 

These brief notes will convey a faint idea 
of Fitz-Gerald's criticisms. Fragments they 
are, but they will, I trust, induce my readers 
to turn at once to Fitz-Gerald's Letters to 


Edward Fitz-Gerald 

Fanny Kemble, and to the two-volume 
edition of Fitz-Gerald's Letters, published 
in the Eversley Series, where they will find 
copious and keen criticisms on literature, 
music, and art. In fact these Letters are 
indispensable to those who desire to under- 
stand the critical power of the man. 


The Life of 


At the death of his father, in 1852, 
Edward Fitz-Gerald's housekeeping at the 
Bungalow came to an end. The Boulge 
Hall estate descended to Mr. John Purcell 
Fitz-Gerald, the eldest son, with whom 
Edward was not on the most cordial terms. 
They were, he said, good friends, but theo- 
logical differences kept them apart. At any 
rate, when his brother died, he acknowledged 
that he had not been inside his park gates 
(only three miles from Woodbridge) for a 
dozen years. Nor did he enter them on 
the occasion of the funeral. With another 
brother, Peter, who had embraced the 
Roman Catholic faith, he was on the most 
affectionate terms, but the eldest brother 
was an evangelical churchman of a very 
low type ; in him, too, were concentrated 


Edward Fitz-Gerald 

all the eccentricities of the Fitz-Gerald 
family, but theology was doubtless the 
stumbling-block between the brothers in 
the path of intimacy. 

Fitz-Gerald's furniture, books, and pic- 
tures were stowed away at a farm house, 
Farlingay Hall, not far from the Bungalow. 
He was on the best of terms with the farmer 
and his wife, and not being anxious to take 
another house, he sometimes stayed with 
them a month at a time ; with his friend 
Parson Crabbe he was off and on for two 
months, then he would float about for a year 
or two and visit distant friends. He would 
run down to the Isle of Wight, or to Shrop- 
shire to see Allen, or to Bath to see one 
of his sisters, in whose company he had 
scarcely been for six years. When he 
arrived at Bath, he wrote to Frederick 
Tennyson, ' You see to what fashionable 
places I am reduced in my old age.' 

He continued roving about, but the most 
important of his visits was that to his old 


The Life of 

friend Archdeacon Allen at Prees Vicarage, 
near Shrewsbury. He had long talked of 
going there, but delays with him were 
proverbial, and almost in envy he remarked 
one day that * young Churchyard makes 
less fuss of his prospective trip to America 
than I do of a journey to Shropshire. He 
had so low an estimate of the value of his 
company, that he did not hesitate to let his 
friends ' wait a long time before he went to 
occupy their easy chairs.' But once in 
Allen's vicarage home he enjoyed himself 
thoroughly ; in fact, it seemed that whilst in 
the company of his old friend, he was in- 
spired with all the freshness and fun of his 
college days. They had long country 
walks daily, and evenings were devoted 
to the recall of reminiscences of old col- 
lege days and college friends. With the 
children Fitz-Gerald was a great favourite ; 
he adapted a French play for their per- 
formance, and amused them by extemporis- 
ing music as fast as an ordinary man would 


Edward Fitz-Gerald 

write a letter. Sometimes a six-year-old 
little girl accompanied them in their walks, 
and when they came to a style, Fitz-Gerald 
lifted her over with the cheery words, ' Now, 
little Ticket ! ' On one Sunday afternoon 
he accompanied his friend to a neighbour- 
ing village, where, the incumbent having 
just lost his wife, the Archdeacon had kindly 
undertaken the duty. On their return, Mrs 
Allen inquired how they found the widower. 
' Rather lachrymose,' replied Fitz-Gerald, in 
his humorous way. The choir had • struck 
just before his visit, and a harmonium was 
inaugurated the first Sunday of his stay. 
Fitz-Gerald undertook to preside, and he 
told the Archdeacon's eldest son that he 
was to make it known that the congregation 
that morning would have the opportunity of 
listening to the performance of a dis- 
tinguished foreigner, Signor Geraldino. 

In the early part of his London life, 
Fitz-Gerald was frequently with Thackeray. 
In taste and disposition they had so much 


The Life of 

in common that they became quite com- 
panions, but even then Fitz-Gerald was so 
shy that he would not attend the parties 
which Thackeray had at his mother's house. 
The great novelist became the object of 
aristocratic patronage during the publication 
of Vanity Fair, and whilst this conviviality 
and money-making was going on, Fitz- 
Gerald saw less and less of his old friend, 
and thought himself neglected. His fears 
as to Thackeray's forgetfulness were, how- 
ever, thrown to the winds when Fitz-Gerald 
saw it announced that he was going to 
lecture in America. Writing to W B. 
Donne, he says : ' Dear old Thackeray is 
going to America ; I must fire him a letter 
of farewell.' Thackeray was much touched by 
this letter. Before leaving England, he sent 
a reply in which, in the most tender manner, 
he took leave of his friend. It began, 

' My Dearest Old Friend, — I must not 
go away without shaking your hand, and 
saying farewell and God bless you. 


Edward Fitz-Gerald 

And he said further, if anything happened 
to him, he would like his daughters to 
remember that Fitz-Gerald was not only the 
oldest, but the best friend their father ever had. 
The last sentence of the letter ran thus : — 

' I care for you, as you know, and always 
like to think that I am fondly and affec- 
tionately yours. — W. M. T.' 

Fitz-Gerald's response to this letter was 
characteristic. After mentioning that he 
had by will provided that the sum of 
^500 after his decease should be paid to 
Thackeray's eldest daughter, he says, ' You 
owe me no thanks for giving what I can no 
longer use. It will be some satisfaction to 
me to know that your generous friendship 
bore some sort of fruit, if not to yourself, to 
those you are naturally anxious about.' 

It is a matter of observation that friend- 
ship often springs up between the most 
unlikely persons, and maintains its vitality 
under widely different circumstances, and 
with great contrasts of character. This was 


The Life of 

especially the case with Fitz-Gerald and 
Carlyle. Before their personal acquaint- 
ance began, Fitz-Gerald could not tolerate 
Carlyle's style of writing, but after a few 
years' intercourse, he declared that he did 
not find it tiresome, any more than he did 
his talk to listen to, which always delighted 
him. He said his writing was only the talk 
of a great genius put on paper for general 
perusal ; that so far from being wearisome 
to read, as he advanced in years, he thought 
it had become better. They were as one in 
their strong desire for simplicity of life, and 
in their hatred of every species of cant. 
Carlyle kept aloof from the bitterness and 
turmoil of English party politics, and Fitz- 
Gerald, when writing to his friend Frederick 
Tennyson, said, ' Don't write politics, I 
agree with you beforehand.' 

As years passed on this friendship was 
so strongly cemented that, in 1855, Fitz- 
Gerald invited Carlyle to spend his Summer 
holiday with him at Woodbridge, and this 


Edward Fitz-Gerald 

invitation the Chelsea sage accepted. When 
he solicited Carlyle to visit him, he had not 
a house himself to live in. For two or 
three years he had been roving about the 
country, his furniture being, as I have 
mentioned, packed away at a farm house. 
This farm house, known as Farlingay Hall, 
was one of the large old-fashioned ' Halls 
which, as Manor houses, formerly abounded 
in Suffolk, and as there was plenty of 
accommodation, Fitz-Gerald induced the 
farmer and his wife to let Carlyle and 
himself have apartments for a short time 
in their pretty rural home. He had already 
inquired of Mrs Carlyle what it was desir- 
able to procure for her husband in the way 
of food, stating that he knew his wants were 
in small compass, and that it was easy to 
get what he liked if she would only say. 
The result was a stay of more than a week, 
to Carlyle's great enjoyment. 

This visit began on August 8th, 1855. 
Fitz-Gerald had given full instructions for 


The Life of 

the journey, and Carlyle decided to leave 
Shoreditch Station at 1 1 a.m., being due at 
Ipswich about 2. There E. F -G. met him, 
and, after looking about the old town, at 
Carlyle's desire they drove direct to Farlin- 
gay Hall. Carlyle brought books with him, 
gave all parties a good hint that he wished 
sometimes to be left alone, as he was used 
to several hours of solitude every day, and 
did not grow weary of it, though he was 
willing to be driven to any place Fitz- 
Gerald recommended. The two friends 
journeyed together to have a look at 
Aldeburgh, at the ruined city of Dunwich, 
and at the famous castle of Framlingham. 

The day after his arrival, Fitz- Gerald 
marched his visitor off to Bredfield Rectory 
to be introduced to the Rev. George Crabbe, 
and thither they afterwards went two or 
three days in succession. Carlyle was de- 
lighted with the frank and hearty manner 
of the parson, and was pleased to have a 
talk with his eldest daughter, a clever 


Edward Fitz-Gerald 

woman, a great reader who could recollect 
what she read, though she always gave her 
opinion very modestly. It was harvest 
time, and in the evenings the three friends 
sat out on the lawn, smoking and discussing 
various themes to their hearts' content. 
Carlyle's wonderful range of conversation 
surprised all who listened to him. The 
farmer at Farlingay Hall was astonished 
to find that he was as conversant with soils 
and crops as if he had been all his life 
tilling the land. Whilst sitting on the lawn, 
under the shadow of a fine tree, Carlyle 
poured forth his invectives on the men and 
manners of the day, whenever he removed 
his pipe from his lips. He was vociferous 
in his denunciations of shams and windbags, 
and once declared that Burns ought to have 
been king of England, and George III. the 
exciseman. Some of his smart sayings left 
their impression, as, ' Piety does not mean 
that a man should make a sour face about 
things, and refuse to enjoy in moderation 
p 225 

The Life of 

what his Maker has given.' On his return 
home he wrote to Mr. Crabbe, thanking 
him for the way in which he had contributed 
to his enjoyment during his stay at Wood- 
bridge, and expressed the pleasure he had 
in meeting his daughter. 

Carlyle was so delighted by his visit that 
he even proposed to renew it, and in writing 
to Fitz-Gerald suggested that when he got 
his little Suffolk cottage there must be a 
chamber in the wall for him. If, in addition, 
there was a pony that he could ride, and a 
cow that gave good milk, they could have a 
pretty rustication now and then. This idea 
did not last long with him. He found he 
could not sleep so well on his return home, 
the change was too great. The stillness 
which surrounded him at Farlingay Hall 
was unattainable at Chelsea, and as he lost 
a second sleep every night he gave up all 
thoughts of again rusticating in the quietude 
of a Suffolk village. At the same time he 
was confident of being benefited by his 


Edward Fitz-Gerald 

visit, ' and by all the kindness of my benefi- 
cent brother mortals to me there.' The 
latter years of his life he passed in a very 
feeble condition, and Fitz-Gerald seldom 
called, as he found that conversation ex- 
hausted him, but he always had him in 
memory. The strength of his feeling to- 
wards his friend may be judged by the fact 
that not long before his death, being in 
London, he was almost tempted to jump 
into a cab, just knock at Carlyle's door, ask 
after him, give his card and run away. 

From Froude's biography the public 
learnt of Carlyle's love for his own family, 
his generosity to them, and his struggles to 
help to maintain his father and mother out 
of very slender earnings. All this intensified 
Fitz-Gerald's regard for him. He frequently 
expressed his regret that he did not know 
whilst Carlyle was alive what the book told 
him, that he might have loved as well as 
admired him during their friendly inter- 
course — this being a phase of Carlyle's 


The Life of 

character which he had not taken into 
account before. This loving memory for 
his friend remained with Fitz-Gerald to the 

Carlyle, on the other hand, had an equally 
strong esteem for Fitz-Gerald. His letters 
show how ardently he desired to see or 
hear from him, often regretting that com- 
munications came so seldom, and the inquiry 
in person not at all. ' Are you never to see 
London and us again ? After the beginning 
of next week I am at Chelsea, and there is 
a fire in the evening now to welcome you 
there ; show your face in some way or other. 
I beg to be kept in remembrance as probably 
your oldest friend.' 

The following letters from Carlyle to 
Fitz-Gerald will help to show the strength 
of their attachment. 

'■Chelsea, December yth, 1868. 

•Dear Fitz-Gerald, — Thanks for in- 
quiring after me again. I am in my usual 


Edward Fitz-Gerald 

weak state of bodily health, not much worse 
I imagine, and not even expecting to be 
better. I study to be solitary, in general ; 
to be silent, as the state that suits me best ; 
my thoughts then are infinitely sad indeed, 
but capable too of being solemn, mournfully 
beautiful, useful; and as for "happiness," 
I have that of employment more or less 
befitting the years I have arrived at, and 
the long journey that cannot now be far 

' Your letter has really entertained me ; I 
could willingly accept twelve of that kind in 
the year — twelve, I say, or even fifty-two, if 
they could be content with an answer of 
silent thanks and friendly thoughts and re- 
membrances ! But within the last three or 
four years my right hand has become 
captious, taken to shaking as you see, and 
all writing is a thing I require compulsion and 
close necessity to drive me into ! Why not 
call here when you come to town ? I again 
assure you it would give me pleasure, and 


The Life of 

be a welcome and wholesome solace to me. 
With many true wishes and regards, I am 
always, Dear F., sincerely yours, 

' T. Carlyle.' 

' Chelsea, $ist October 1869. 

' Dear Fitz-Gerald, — I have not much 
to say in reply to your kind letter of inquiry, 
except that it is very welcome to me, and 
my regret only is that the like comes so 
seldom, and the inquiry in person never at 
all ! The sight of you again would no doubt 
bring mournful memories, but it would surely 
do me good withal. 

' For the last year I have been extremely 
bothered with want of sleep ; a miserable 
kind of suffering — coming always at in- 
tervals, though too frequently, and much 
deranging my poor proceedings for the 
time it lasts. Within the last few weeks, 
it has again nearly withdrawn, and I am 
again flattering myself that it will not re- 
turn, but leave me at my old poor level, 


Edward Fitz- Gerald 

which you know was never very high ! A 
brother of mine (M.D. by profession) 
asserts, plausibly rather, that good part of 
the mischief has arisen from the employ- 
ment I was at : — sorting, etc., etc., of old 
papers pertaining to the dead and vanished ; 
which naturally kept me in an altogether 
sombre state of mind, and that now this 
or the tenderest part of this being mainly 
done, rest will follow. We shall see, we 
shall see ! 

' I had a most still life here ; my thoughts 
turned mostly far elsewhither, as is now fit 
and suitable. They are printing a "Library 
Edition," as they call it, of my poor books ; 
five or six proof-sheets came to-day, which 
I think myself bound to read. This is 
pretty much my one prescribed employment, 
but I have enough of others very much 
more interesting to me. With one or two 
(I really think hardly four in all) I have 
now and then some pleasant conversation, 
the other mostly I am better without. In 


The Life of 

short, I am becoming a land hermit as 
much as you are a sea one. 

' Browning's book I read, insisted on 
reading : it is full of talent, of energy, and 
effort, but totally without backbone or vein 
of common-sense. I think, among the 
absurdest books ever written by a gifted 
man. Do you know the late Arthur 
Clough and his Writings and Biography, 
edited by his widow (Macmillan & Co.) ? 
Let me recommend that to you : I knew 
Clough, and loved him well. 

'Adieu, dear F., you see what my right 
hand is gone to, though my heart is still 
alive as ever. — Yours truly, 

' T. Carlyle.' 

■ Chelsea, ^th December 186 

' Dear Fitz-Gerald, — What a time since 
we have seen you ! And still it is no visit, 
it is only the arrival of half-yearly note — 
better than quite nothing. 

' We did not quit town at all this year : 


Edward Fitz-Gerald 

the wife ran to Ramsgate with a lady friend, 
to taste the sea air — was delighted with the 
sea air, but like to be driven mad by the 
brass bands, bagpipes, Ethiopians, hawkers, 
and perpetual ragings of foul (not to 

mention the nasty fat Jews and fat-bellied 
Cockneys), and came home in a week. I 
sit here under an awning, and the shadow 
of the back wall, obstinately bungling along 
at this unblessed task of mine — and might 
as well have flung it aside, for my rate of 
"progress" was frightful. We went in 
September for about ten days into Windsor 
Forest ; some goodish galloping I had in 
the noble Park there (though under lum- 
bago, etc.), and that was all the rustication 
vouchsafed to us this year. 

' I am now really pretty well in health 
considering the years I count and the 
drudgery I have to stick to — if I could get 
done with the latter, I should really be 
tolerably off. But alas, the goal is still far 
away, and sad muddy pilgrimage, and 


The Life of 

months more than I like to reckon, are 
loaded with chagrin, disgust, and almost 
despair, before the deliverance can come. 
In the mean time I continue buried '; see 
nobody (go to see absolutely nobody), toil 
and struggle all hours of the day, with 
whatever strength is left me, towards this 
as the one good still possible for me. With 
a kind of indignation for most part (for 
myself among other people), which, as it is 
all silent, does the less ill. In truth, "this 
ten years among the Prussian pots " has 
made me very grimy, and humiliated me to 
the very marrow of the bone. I was 
computing lately, in one of my rides, that I 
must have ridden (upon my excellent horse 
Fritz, who is now waxing old as doth a 
garment) something like 20,000 miles, — 
nineteen-twentieths of it or more in soli- 
tude, since I began this hateful adventure ! 

' My poor wife is but weakly, has had a 
tedious cold, etc., but is now getting better. 
Are you never to see London again, and us 


Edward Fitz-Gerald 

again ? You have still that stone to set 
up on Naseby Moor, remember! It was 
indeed a miserable oversight not to go on 
to Edinburgh when so near it. Courage! 
I will drag you there some day myself. 
Adieu, dear F — Yours ever, 

€ T. Carlyle.' 

Fitz-Gerald, eccentric himself, was oc- 
casionally visited by other eccentrics. One 
of these was a man who for a time became 
famous, and to-day has his worshippers. 
This was George Borrow — author of 'The 
Bible in Spain.' His tall, erect, and some- 
what mysterious figure made its appearance 
unexpectedly at Fitz-Gerald's apartments, 
and as he was known to be master of many 
languages, and was fully conversant with 
Spanish, the way seemed clear for mutual 
attachment. Fitz-Gerald did not, however, 
admire Borrow's translations, and said that 
as years rolled on his taste became stranger 
than ever. He first met him at his friend's 


The Life of 

W. B. Donne's, at Bury St. Edmunds, 
when his masterful way and his blunt 
manner at once impressed him, whilst his 
shaggy eyebrows, by shading his keen eyes 
beneath a broad-brimmed hat, and his 
moody and variable temperament, invested 
him with a strange personality. There was 
something approaching to genius in the 
man, but his life puzzled some and repelled 
others, and he died in comparative obscurity. 
During late years his fame as a writer has 
grown, and he has what may be described 
as a large following. He lived on the 
banks of Oulton Broad, and Fitz-Gerald 
saw him both at Yarmouth and Lowestoft, 
lent him Persian MSS., and gossiped about 
translation, but they were never very 


Edward Fitz-Gerald 


The story of Fitz-Gerald's marriage has 
an element of the tragic. It was one of the 
many cases of incompatibility of habits and 
disposition, and was the result of solicitude 
apart from love. The drags were always 
on ; when one did not apply them the other 
did, and the natural result followed. The 
marriage car came to a standstill, and neither 
occupant troubled to grease the wheels to 
promote harmony. Between him and his 
wife there was a certain intellectual, but no 
spiritual affinity. Their habits were dis- 
similar ; each was eccentric. Marriage 
came at too late a period of life for either to 
begin on a new track, while a beginning- 
was necessary in order to ensure smoothness 


The Life of 

of running of the domestic wheels. The 
truth is that, for reasons to be seen anon, 
Fitz-Gerald's compassion got the better of 
his judgment, and both had to suffer. 
Whatever the penalty, it was self-imposed, 
and was apparently borne with unrepining 
resignation. Of course it led to scandal, as 
such matters always do, but the whole thing 
was simple enough of explanation to those 
who knew both husband and wife. 

Very little is publicly known as to the 
details of the marriage. Indeed, many 
people were unaware that he was married, 
and regarded him as an eccentric bachelor 
in the lucky possession of means, both to 
gratify and condone his whims. Misconcep- 
tion and glaring misstatements respecting 
his connection have so long prevailed that it 
is necessary, in justice to his memory, to 
enable the public to become better acquainted 
with the history of this momentous event in 
his life, leaving them to draw their own 


Edward Fitz-Gerald 

Bernard Barton and Edward Fitz-Gerald 
were for some years intimate friends ; the 
acquaintance doubtless began soon after 
Fitz-Gerald's parents settled at Boulge Hall. 
After 1836 his letters to Barton are frequent 
and upon all sorts of subjects, showing great 
intimacy and close companionship. Thus — 
' To-morrow is Barton's birthday, and I am 
going to help him to celebrate it.' — ' I only 
returned home a few days ago to spend 
Christmas with Barton, whose turkey I 
accordingly partook of.' — ' Barton comes 
and sups with me to-morrow. This inti- 
macy ripened and continued till Barton's 

Bernard Barton was a widower with one 
child, a daughter, who, having in infancy 
lost her mother, was brought up by her 
grandmother, with whom she lived until old 
enough to take charge of her father's home. 
From the time that she entered upon these 
responsibilities father and daughter were 
inseparables, and Lucy, who had great 


The Life of 

natural ability, became, under his fostering 
care, a woman of culture, 1 with a constant 
desire to improve her taste and enlarge her 
understanding. There was no Whittier in 
those days, and a poet among Quakers was 
so far an anomaly that Bernard Barton's 
accomplishments in that direction gained for 
him a degree of celebrity which he would 
not have achieved in any other religious 
circle. He was lionised in Woodbridge and 
its neighbourhood. Literary men and others 
of good position in society were fond of 
spending an hour or two with the Quaker 
poet, and the daughter, by mixing with them 
and presiding at her father's table, acquired 
the manners that enabled her to hold her 
own among all classes. Her natural ability 
was shown in other ways. On one occasion, 
when only a young woman, she accompanied 
her father to London to see Charles Lamb. 
In advanced years nothing pleased her 
better than to relate her reminiscences of 

1 See Letter from her in Appendix. 

Edward Fitz-Gerald 

this visit, which, besides being full of 
interest, was told in such a graphic and 
picturesque way as to excite the attention of 
all who were privileged to listen. 

Having left the Society of Friends, to 
which all her family belonged, she became a 
member of the Church of England, and 
established a Bible class for lads, which she 
held every Sunday afternoon at her own 
house, where she was well known for her 
decision of character and ability to rule. 

Her father's salary as bank clerk, his 
pension of one hundred pounds a year from 
the Civil List, and the income arising from 
the sale of his poems, enabled them to live 
in comparative ease and dispense hospitality 
to their friends. This income was abruptly 
diminished by the death of her father. She 
had a small property in her own right, but 
the rentals therefrom were insufficient to 
maintain her. To meet current expenses 
she sold the pictures and furniture, and by 
this means, and the publication of a volume 
Q 241 

The Life of 

of Selections from her father's poems, she 
met all requirements, and at the same time 
preserved her property. To this volume of 
Selections Edward Fitz-Gerald contributed 
a charming biography, and writing to his 
friend Frederick Tennyson, he mentions 
being engaged editing some of the Quaker 
poet's letters and poems, he having died, 
leaving his daughter, a noble woman, almost 
unprovided for, and we are getting up this 
volume by subscription. 

After the lapse of some months she was 
engaged by Mr Hudson Gurney, of Keswick 
Mall, Norwich, to live in his house as 
chaperone and companion to two of his 
grandnieces who had lost their mother. 
None but a lady of good education and 
general culture, with a knowledge of society, 
could have creditably performed the duties 
of such a post, and for these Lucy Barton 
was eminently qualified. Eventually the 
elder sister married, but the Gurneys did 
not part with their chaperone until the time 


Edward Fitz-Gerald 

came when she set about making prepara- 
tions for her marriage with Edward Fitz- 
Gerald. This was more than seven years 
after the death of her father. It was not a 
secret marriage, though it was celebrated at 
a distance from their own home, All Saints 
Church, Chichester, being selected for the 
performance of the ceremony, which occurred 
on the 4th of November 1856, when Lucy 
Barton was nearly fifty years of age. 
Chichester was doubtless chosen by Miss 
Barton because she had relatives living 
there, and it will be seen by the copy of the 
register of this marriage, which will be found 
in the Appendix, that several members of 
the family signed the register. 

At present nothing is publicly known as 
to what brought about this marriage. Of 
courting in the ordinary sense of that term 
there seems to have been none. Unpub- 
lished letters of Fitz-Gerald's which I have 
seen simply refer to Miss Barton in friendly 
terms, the writer expressing at times great 


The Life of 

respect. Woodbridge gossips said that they 
were betrothed in the presence of Bernard 
Barton, but no evidence has been offered in 
support of that statement. Immediately 
after the death of Mrs Fitz-Gerald, a writer 
in the Academy gave some interesting 
notices of her life at Croydon, and, referring 
to her marriage, stated that Bernard Barton 
asked Fitz-Gerald to act as his executor, 
and look after his daughter's interests. He 
consented, but when the time came to carry 
out the task, he found himself so confronted 
by difficulties, and distressed by the small 
income of Lucy Barton, that he thought it 
his duty to propose marriage, and thus 
ensure for her circumstances of comfort. 
He did so, and she accepted him. This 
very plausible theory is unsupported by 
facts. There was no will! Bernard Barton 
died intestate in February 1849, and 
administration of his estate was granted to 
Lucy Barton on the 10th of the following 
April. The bonds were Richard Jones of 


Edward Fitz-Gerald 

Woodbridge, surgeon, and Abraham Brook 
of the same place, wine merchant. Edward 
Fitz-Gerald was not even one of the bonds. 
Coleridge spent his honeymoon within 
sound of the sea, and Fitz-Gerald went to 
Brighton for the first few days of his married 
life. Removing to London, husband and 
wife lived in Great Portland Street for 
several weeks. It looks, however, as if the 
daily intercourse and domestic ties conse- 
quent upon marriage revealed traits of 
character from which misunderstandings 
arose, otherwise one can hardly suppose 
that a wife would absent herself from her 
husband for five consecutive weeks, on a 
visit to friends, during the first eleven weeks 
after her marriage. On January 22, 1857, 
Fitz-Gerald informed Professor Cowell that 
his wife had been five weeks in Norfolk, 
whilst he had been alone during that period 
at his old lodging in London. She returned 
the day before he penned this letter, and 
they took apartments in Portland Terrace, 


The Life of 

Regent's Park, for two months. Apparently 
at this date he saw that separation must 
come, as he wished the professor to send 
letters for him to Bredfield Rectory till 
further directions. 'Till I see better how 
we get on, I dare fix on no place to live or 
die in.' 

Their characters were in many ways so 
opposite that estrangement seemed to come 
naturally. Mrs Fitz-Gerald was careful to 
have everything in the house neat and 
orderly, and was prim and even fussy about 
her own and her husband's apparel. He on 
the other hand was careless alike as to dress 
and domestic arrangements. He was obli- 
vious of the conventionalities of domestic 
life, and had lived too long as a solitary 
student, a bachelor and a Bohemian, to 
change his habits. There cannot be a doubt 
that to a woman so painfully punctilious as 
Lucy Barton, Edward Fitz-Gerald was a 
very trying man to deal with, but having 
known him intimately for seventeen years, 


Edward Fitz-Gerald 

it seems surprising that so clever a woman 
could have expected him to alter his mode 
of life. He was sad enough himself, could 
get no quietude, and longed for the com- 
pany of Professor Cowell and his wife, who 
were living in Calcutta. He writes, ' My wife 
is sick of hearing me sing in a doleful voice 
the old glee, ' When shall we three meet 
again,' especially the stanza ' Though in 
foreign lands we sigh, parcht beneath a 
hostile sky, etc.' To these friends he made 
known his sad and miserable condition : ' I 
believe there are new channels fretted in my 
cheeks with my unmanly tears since I saw 
you, remembering the days that are no 
more, in which you two are so much mixt 
up.' Just imagine the miserable condition 
such a man as Edward Fitz-Gerald must 
have arrived at before he would have penned 
such sentences as these. 

The difficulties of his wedded life in- 
creased, and it was not long after his lament- 
ation to his friend Cowell was written that a 


The Life of 

separation was mutually agreed upon. As 
might be expected Fitz-Gerald behaved 
generously in the matter of allowance from 
his estate, and the deed was placed in the 
hands of trustees. Mrs Fitz-Gerald lived 
first at Hastings, then at Brighton, and 
finally at Croydon, enjoying through her 
husband's liberality every comfort that she 
needed. As she lived till she was ninety 
years of age, the separation would not 
appear to have seriously marred her happi- 
ness. The worst tragedy in life is a mis- 
taken marriage. In such a case as Fitz- 
Gerald's, where it is believed he acted on a 
generous impulse, it was less wrong to agree 
to a separation than to continue living a life 
which must result in misery, not for one 
only, but for both. 

Fitz-Gerald himself returned to Wood- 
bridge, and lived at Farlingay Hall or at 
Bredfield Rectory. His return without his 
wife created gossip, and the female portion 
of the community were strong in their de- 


Edward Fitz-Gerald 

nunciations. Thus, a friend of Mrs Edward 
Fitz-Gerald's, writing to me just after the 
separation and referring to her said, ' if I 
must tell the unwelcome truth, she has now 
enough to bear from the atrocious proceed- 
ings of her husband, who is highly unprin- 
cipled or insane. She is now living at 
Hastings, he anywhere.' This is typical of 
the feeling then entertained towards Fitz- 
Gerald by a large number of the ladies of 
Woodbridge, and he frequently felt indig- 
nant at hearing remarks that were levelled 
at him, but he resolved to live down the 
gossip, and after a few months he returned 
to apartments (which he had formerly 
occupied) on the Market Hill, Woodbridge. 
His dearest friends remained true to him, as 
they were convinced that his marriage was 
the result of a generous impulse. It was in 
every way unwise, and he paid for his rash- 
ness by a lifelong penalty. My readers 
may rest assured that such a man as Arch- 
deacon Groom e, who lived on the spot, and 


The Life of 

knew all the circumstances, would have 
instantly dropped Fitz-Gerald from his list 
of friends, had he acted from unprincipled 

After a lapse of forty-years, a common- 
sense view of the case is more prevalent 
among women. During the last two years 
I have received the following from ladies 
who knew Fitz-Gerald and his wife well. 

1 Certainly that marriage was a mistake, 
both so clever, both so good and honourable, 
but neither fitted, I think, for married life. 
Each made to live alone, I should say, from 
peculiar disposition, good as they were. 
Clever people are not always the best in 
home life.' 

Another says : — ' She did not suit him, he 
provided for her well, and was anxious to 
treat her with proper respect, but Mr Fitz- 
Gerald was too long unmarried to adapt 
himself to anything but a single life.' 

Some years may elapse before the evi- 
dence upon which to base a final judgment is 


Edward Fitz-Gerald 

made public, but those who still have faith 
in the translator of Omar Khayyam, need, 
I am convinced, have no fear that — 

' Whatever record leap to light 
He never can be shamed.' 


The Life of 


I must not pass without notice Fitz- 
Gerald's acquaintance with Richard Monck- 
ton Milnes, afterwards Lord Houghton, 
although but little trace of their friendship 
can be found in the Letters published by the 
editor of Fitz-Gerald's works. The bio- 
grapher of Lord Houghton says, ' Edward 
Fitz-Gerald, the author of Omar Khayydm, 
had long been one of his correspondents, 
and in his later days Fitz-Gerald's letters 
took the place of those of some earlier 
friends, who had passed away.' He was a 
man of good culture, a poet of no mean 
powers, good-hearted and amiable in every 
way, was friendly with Carlyle, Spedding, 
Connop Thirlwall, and a host of literary and 


Edward Fitz-Gerald 

social dons. He was too much of a fashion- 
able man of the world to be on very intimate 
terms with Fitz-Gerald. He liked to pose 
as a man of universal sympathies. Disraeli 
rather sarcastically observed of him, ' he was 
the Steward of Polish Balls, and the Vindi- 
cator of Russian humanity, he dined with 
Louis Phillippe, and gave dinners to Louis 
Blanc. He had wealth at his back, and 
after he became M.P., his breakfasts at his 
London residence were renowned. He in- 
vited all classes of persons provided they 
were celebrated, that qualification was indis- 
pensable. He had travelled over Europe 
and America, and in the latter country made 
a number of friends, partook of the hospi- 
tality of Longfellow and Emerson, and 
renewed his acquaintance with Dr Robert 
Collyer, the Yorkshire blacksmith, who had 
established his fame as one of the greatest 
preachers in the United States. The shy- 
ness of Fitz-Gerald prevented him from 
joining Monckton Milnes' social circle. In 


The Life of 

the love of Keats and his poetry, they found 
a common bond of union, though they had 
very little intercourse after they left Cam- 
bridge, and in 1880 their correspondence 
had dwindled down to a yearly letter. 

The following characteristic letters of 
Fitz-Gerald's are from the ' Life of Lord 
Houghton,' by Sir Wemyss Reid, and are 
inserted here by his kind permission : — 

• Market Hill, Woodbridge, April Zth, 1872. 

' Dear Lord Houghton, — It is rather 
hard to ask you to write about trifles, you 
have so much to write and do ; but you have 
always been very obliging to me, and so 
here goes with my little business. I have 
just been reading your Life and Letters of 
Keats, for the second time, edition 1867, 
and I want to know who was the lady he 
died in love with, or if I may not know her 
name, whether she was single or married. 
Was she the " Charmian " Miss of p. 192 ? 
not the lady who said he looked " quite the 


Edward Fitz-Gerald 

little poet " to be sure ; and by-the-bye, how 
tall was he ? Above five feet surely, which 
he talks of in one place ? I wonder Messrs 
Browning, Morris, Rossetti, &c. can read 
Keats' hastiest doggerel and not be ashamed 
at being trumpeted as great poets in the 
AthencEum and elsewhere. Only to men- 
tion Tennyson alone, to compare themselves 
with, who used not to think himself equal to 
Keats at all. I don't know what he thinks 
now, after so much worship has been offered 
him. To Keats he is not equal in inven- 
tion and strength of continued flight, at any 
rate ; but certainly farther above Browning 
& Co., than below his predecessor. I think 
that Quai'terly should be printed along with 
the Life of Keats > as a warning to reviewers. 
I think you will excuse my troubling you. A 
very few words will answer me, and do not 
answer if not proper or agreeable. — Yours 

4 E. Fitz-Gerald.' 


The Life of 

To the same he says : — 

'April 12th, 1872. 

1 I can care nothing for his (Tennyson's) 
poems, since his two volumes in 1842, except 
for the dramatic element in ' Maud,' and a 
few little bits in it — but I am told this is 
because I have shut up my mind, &c. So 
it may be. But surely he has become more 
artist than poet ever since, and the artist has 
not the wherewithal to work on. I mourn 
over him, as once a great man lost — that is, 
not risen to the greatness that was in 

•Little Grange, Woodbridge, April 30, 1878. 

' Dear Lord Houghton, — You are, as 
ever, very kind to me, not least so in writing 
me a letter, which I find is a hard task to 
my oldest friends now, partly because of 
their being oldest I suppose. My dear old 
Spedding, I can barely screw out a dozen 


Edward Fitz-Gerald 

lines once a year from him. I have just had 
them, almost two months before the year 
was out, and on them I must try to live 
another year more. 

" And with the aid such correspondents give 
Life passes on — 'tis labour — but we live." 

'So says Crabbe, only "ships and sail- 
ing " in the first line, from his Borough, 
which with the rest of him no one now 
reads except myself, I believe. I write at 
once not only to thank you, but to return 
you Lushington's corrections. I should 
have thought they were printer's not 
copyist's errors. In return for all this, I 
enclose you one of my works. You see I 
drew it for myself, because I often find my- 
self puzzled about the few dates in the dear 
fellow's life, when reading his letters, as they 
are now edited ; then I thought that some 
others would like such a " Cotelette d' 
Agneau a' la Minute " as Pollock calls it, 
and so here it is for you if you please. I 
r 257 

The Life of 

am told that the present generation sneers 
at C. L. I suppose a natural revolt from 
their predecessors — us who love him so well. 
But his turn will come again, I feel sure. 
" Saint Charles," said old Thackeray to me 
in a third floor in Charlotte St., thirty years 
ago, putting one of C.L.'s letters to his fore- 
head. I swear to the exact accuracy of my 
Cotelette, it is not easy to get it all from his 
biographies — and I am — Paddy, but I 
believe it is near enough. Pray do not be 
at the trouble of acknowledging it. You 
entertained many people at that 26 Pall 
Mall as I can witness for one, and one of us 
was a thief. I suppose some one stole a 
volume I had of Thackeray's drawings, 
which I lent to Annie T. when she was 
about that best Orphan of Pimlico. I 
entreated her to use some of his more grace- 
ful drawings, enough caricature already ; but 
she or her publisher listened not, and she 
never could find my book again. I did not 
want it again, but I did not wish it to fall 


Edward Fitz-Gerald 

into other hands than hers. Now I think 
you have enough of Yours very sincerely, 

* Edward.' 

(How many more of the name do you 

know ? ) 

1 Fitz-Gerald.' 

' Surely the Keats should be published. 
What a fuss the cockneys make about 
Shelley just now ; not worth Keats' little 
finger. ' 

The enclosure in Fitz-Gerald's letter was 
a brief list of the principal dates and 
events in Lamb's life, just such a list as 
would be found useful by any reader of his 

In the summer of 1864 Fitz-Gerald bought 
a small farmhouse in the outskirts of Wood- 
bridge, which originally belonged to the 
' Grange Farm ' at Melton. This house he 
so altered and enlarged as to make it into a 
very agreeable, if not a convenient residence, 


The Life of 

but nearly nine years elapsed after the 
alterations before he went to live there. 
He was lodging with a Mr. Berry, a gun- 
maker, Market Hill, Woodbridge, and was 
very comfortable, until his landlord took 
unto himself a second wife. Fitz-Gerald 
was not in the habit of mincing his words, 
and the lady, hearing him make use of an 
expression which greatly reflected on her, 
she requested her husband to give him 
notice to quit. This was done, but to give 
Fitz-Gerald this notice must have been a 
hard pill for Mr. Berry to swallow, because, 
as a lodger, he was one of a thousand. He 
never rang the bell for the servant to wait 
upon him if he could avoid it. He would 
leave his lodgings for weeks at a time, but 
his rent was paid just the same. On one 
occasion he went to stay at Aldeburgh for a 
week, simply because the servant had left, 
and he wished the new hand to get used to 
the place before she had the trouble of see- 
ing after his two rooms. To obtain the 


Edward Fitz-Gerald 

necessary provisions for him, Fitz-Gerald 
would hand Mr. Berry a .£5 note, saying, 
1 Tell me when it is all spent.' 

When he left Mr. Berry he was undecided 
as to his future movements. Although he 
could have moved at once to ' Little Grange,' 
he hired a room next door to the gun- 
maker's, and wrote to a friend, ' I have been 
bothered in a small way about moving, and 
have literally seen my things all crushed 
into a little room. Whether I shall have 
courage to begin housekeeping again re- 
mains to be proved. Meanwhile, I am here 
at my own house, which I always wished to 
keep for my nieces.' 

In ' Little Grange,' however, he ultimately 
settled, and soon found that, however 
pleasant it was to see one's gables and 
chimneys occupy a place in the landscape, 
yet he had indulged in an expensive luxury. 
He also discovered that the altered house, 
after costing him nearly double what he had 
anticipated, ' is just what I do not want, 


The Life of 

according to the usage of the Bally blunder 
family, of which I am a legitimate offspring.' 
A dining-room and an entrance hall were 
added to the old farmhouse, but these addi- 
tions belonged to a part of the house which 
he reserved principally for his nieces from 
Geldeston, who took possession for two or 
three months in the summer of every year. 
A large room, which he called study, was 
built for his own use. This was divided, 
and had folding doors. One of these divi- 
sions he used for his meals and for reading 
and writing. Pens, ink, paper, and paste 
were there in abundance, and near the 
window was a desk on high legs with a 
drawer under the sloping top ; at this he 
stood and did his writing. The other divi- 
sion was used as a bedroom, in which was a 
folding bed. Each of these rooms was lined 
with book shelves, and it looked sometimes 
as if books were the chief article of furniture. 
This one room, he said, ' serves for parlour, 
bedroom, and all. And it does very well 


Edward Fitz-Gerald 

for me, reminding me of my former cabin 
life in my little ship.' 

The chairs and tables in these rooms were 
simply useful, no extra expense had been 
incurred in their purchase ; but in that part 
of the house used by his nieces the furniture 
was both elegant and substantial. Antique 
cabinet inlaid with mother-of-pearl, hand- 
some carved work table, carved smoking- 
chair, antique carved oak cabinet with 
drawers, met the eye. In fact nothing was 
spared that would render these rooms attrac- 
tive. Relics of Thomas Carlyle and parson 
Crabbe were placed on a table. A number 
of drawings by Churchyard and others hung 
on the walls, alongside of which were pic- 
tures of a more important character, includ- 
ing portraits of Alfred Tennyson, Archdeacon 
Allen, Crabbe the poet, and a crayon draw- 
ing of Thackeray. He had also a fine 
landscape by Titian, 'Abraham and Isaac,' 
and a portrait of Raphael Mengs. He was 
one day very pleased when a London 


The Life of 

picture-dealer, who was hunting about 
Suffolk for pictures by Old Crome, called 
upon him, and seeing the landscape by 
Titian, said, 'that ought to be in the 
National Gallery.' Fitz-Gerald told him he 
had bequeathed it to the Fitz-William 
Museum at Cambridge, upon which he said, 
' a very proper place for it.' Fitz-Gerald, 
when speaking of ' Old Crome,' said, ' I 
think he falls far short of the Dutchmen. 
Like the Dutchmen I find his sketches 
better than his finished pictures, but this is 
not the fashionable opinion.' 

On the staircase leading to the drawing- 
room there was a cast of Woolner's bust of 
Tennyson — the marble is in the library of 
Trinity College, Cambridge. Of this cast 
an incident was related to me by Captain 
Woolner which is worth putting on record. 
A few months after the death of Fitz- 
Gerald, the Suffolk sculptor, Thomas 
Woolner, R.A., was staying with his 
brother, Captain Woolner, at Hintlesham, 


Edward Fitz-Gerald 

and they went to Ipswich, six miles distant, 
looking about for anything interesting. 
They wandered as far as Fore Street, 
when the sculptor stopped at a small shop 
where books, pictures, and curios were 
exposed for sale. He was looking at the 
window, when the Captain said, ' I don't 
think you will find anything there, Tom,' 
and he replied, 'You don't know that, you 
may find something anywhere. Ha! look 
there ! ' The captain looked in the direction 
indicated, and saw a plaster cast of his 
brother's bust of Tennyson. The sculptor 
said, ' I know that cast well ; it is the only 
one that I cleaned the seams off myself,' 
alluding to the ridges at the junction of the 
different pieces of the mould. ' I charged 
^"5, 5s. for a cast of that bust, the seams 
being cleaned off by my assistants, but Fitz- 
Gerald offered to give me double the price 
if I would clean off the seams myself. Poor 
dear old Fitz ; I did not like to refuse him, 
and so I did it. He sent me his cheque for 


The Life of 

;£io, i os., but, busy as I was just then, it 
was a serious inroad into my time, and ^200 
would not more than have paid me.' The 
captain asked, ' Do you want it ? ' and he 
replied, * not if you do ; if not, of course I 
shall buy it.' They went into the shop, and 
after asking the price of various things, the 
captain carelessly looked at the bust and 
said, ' What is that ? ' ' Oh ! that's a bust I 
bought at the sale of Mr. Fitz-Gerald of 
Boulge.' 'Who is it?' 'Oh, I don't 
know. ' Who is it by ? ' 'A man named, 
let's see, who is it ? Oh, here you are ; 
Thomas Woolner,' pointing to the cut in- 
scription at the side, 'that's it. Thomas 
Woolner, London, lives in the New Road, I 
think (a locality famous for sculptors of the 
tombstone kind). ' How much ? I have 
taken a house at Holbrook, and it would do 
for the hall or staircase, so how much ? 
Delivered at Holbrook ? But it must be 
cheap.' The dealer considered, and said, 
* Well, it takes up a lot of room, and no one 


Edward Fitz-Gerald 

seems to fancy it; say a sovereign.' 'All 
right,' said the captain, 'but it must be 
delivered safely. 1 ' I will undertake that,' 
said the dealer, and the brothers left the 
shop. As soon as he recovered from laugh- 
ing, the sculptor said, I think you have 
made an uncommonly good bargain ! ' 

A French casement in Fitz-Gerald's study 
opened into a garden which had an abund- 
ance of sweet-scented common flowers. 
Roses, white and red, sweet williams, wall- 
flowers, heartsease, pinks, and many other 
old-fashioned flowers, with scarcely anything 
that could be called choice. He had a great 
love of colour, and obtained it without being 
what is called a good customer of the 
florist's. Outside the French casement was 
his favourite walk, which he called his 
'Quarter Deck.' This was suffused at 
certain seasons with the fragrance of cloves 
and mignonette, the flowers being allowed 
to wander and grow as nature meant them, 
or at their own sweet will. 


The Life of 

Tennyson at Woodbridge. 

The year 1871 was memorable to Fitz- 
Gerald as that in which he sold his yacht. 
Throughout life he had been very fond of 
the sea, and after his eyesight was almost 
extinguished, it became his one great source 
of enjoyment ; his love of boating was nearly 
a passion. Whenever he stayed at Lowe- 
stoft or Aldeburgh, he was a rare good 
customer to the boatmen. In 1863, a small 
yacht was built for him, which cost ^360, 
and as soon as she was afloat, he invited 
friends, one or two at a time, to make short 
trips with him round the Norfolk or the 
Sussex coasts. He was always trying to 
get away from the distractions of the world, 
and during several summers and autumns, 


Edward Fitz-Gerald 

he lived almost entirely on the element he 
loved so well. 

Being a good sailor, he liked a voyage 
best with a rough sea, and accompanied by a 
Woodbridge friend, he once undertook to 
make a trip to Holland in the month of 
August. He went rushing about to Rotter- 
dam and Amsterdam, but saw nothing he 
cared for, having missed The Hague Gallery 
of Pictures. Thus disappointed, the stench 
of the muddy canals was too much for him, 
and he tore back to Bawdsey Ferry as fast 
as his yacht would bring him, declaring that 
he would never go abroad again. This 
resolution, however, was broken. When 
cruising about Ramsgate with his brother 
Peter, he sailed for Calais, just to touch 
French soil, drink a bottle of French wine, 
and then home. This trip pleased him, 
as it brought strongly to his remembrance 
the France of his childhood. Oft-times he 
lived in his little ship for weeks, with no 
company but his crew of two men, and one 


The Life of 

year he stayed there so late in the season 
that sleeping two nights in his cold cabin 
nearly laid him up. About the welfare of 
his small crew he was very considerate. 
When on a cruise he invariably ran for a 
port on a Sunday, not through any regard 
for the sanctity of the day, but that his 
sailors might go ashore for a hot dinner ; 
and when he laid up his yacht for the winter 
(which he called shutting up shop), he 
regaled them with a Michaelmas goose. A 
peculiarity to note is that he would fre- 
quently stop short of the place for which he 
started, and suddenly put about and return 

He maintained that the sea quickened 
his appetite for Greek. One day when 
sailing in a friend's yacht, he was jerked 
overboard by a sudden jib. He was calmly 
scanning a Greek play at the time, and when 
he was fished aboard the book was in his 
hand, and he quietly resumed his reading, 
after declining a change of clothes which 


Edward Fitz-Gerald 

was offered by his companions. ' No harm, 
said he, ' could arise from a ducking in salt 
water.' 1 

To part with his yacht because he could 
not see to read in the cabin of his * dear little 
ship ' was, as may readily be supposed, a 
terrible blow to him, and he did not hesi- 
tate to say, that in giving up sea trips, he 
should be consigned once more to * cold, 
indoor, solitude, melancholy, and ill health.' 

As the years rolled on the infirmities of 
age became more manifest, though at this 
date he was by no means an old man. His 
eyes had long been so inflamed that he 
wrote as little as possible ; at this time his 
letters were in red ink, and one year he 
used a black lead pencil, remarking that 
anything is better than a steel pen. At the 
commencement of 1872, he said he had read 
nothing for months till the last fortnight, 
when he began to nibble at some books 
from Hookham's. He had scarce ' been 

1 Layard's Life of Charles Keene. 

The Life of 

away from home all last year because of 
these eyes, which would not let me read in a 
lodging when I had nothing else to do, 
whereas here at home I can potter about 
my house and garden, feed the chickens, 
and play with the cat.' This monotonous 
kind of life made him querulous, and some- 
times full of lamentations. ' No new books, 
no new pictures, no new music,' he cried, 
but he refrained from going where he might 
have seen and heard about all these, because 
he feared to strain his eyes. He had lost 
all curiosity as to what might be seen or 
heard in London. Of the world he knew 
little beyond what a stray newspaper told 
him, as he had hardly been out of Suffolk 
for a dozen years, and in a melancholy tone, 
he would say his day was done. His 
solitary habits had told upon him greatly, 
and he was conscious that mixing in society, 
or going to see his friends, was the only 
cure ; but he had lost the taste for this 
so long that he could not endure it again. 


Edward Fitz-Gerald 

Poring over Persian MSS. by the aid of a 
lamp till midnight, which he had done for 
months in succession, had injured his eye- 
sight, and this took away the power of 
reading, which was the joy of his life. 

Thus troubled, he resolved to employ 
boy readers, and one of these read to him 
the whole of the Tichborne trial, in which 
he was absorbed. He was very fond of 
Trollope's novels, but admitted that the 
Tichborne case had fascinated him more. 
He must have been fond of criminal trials, 
as he speaks of visits to the Ipswich assizes 
as among his great treats, and his library 
contained the trials of Thistlewood, Thur- 
tell, Manning, Rush, Palmer, Burke, and a 
host of other murderers, bound in seven 
volumes, profusely illustrated with portraits 
and views. He had to change his reader, 
as the lad made so many blunders, and 
whilst staying at Lowestoft he wrote to a 
Woodbridge friend to find ' either a lad or a 
lout, who will help me to get through the 
s 273 

The Life of 

long winter evenings, whether by cards or 
reading.' A lad was found who was a much 
better reader than the first one, who enjoyed 
something of what he read, and could laugh 
heartily, and then matters went on smoothly. 
The engagement continued for three years, 
and the hours were 7.30 to 9.30 p.m. The 
young fellow knew the value of time, and 
Fitz-Gerald, to compliment him on his 
punctuality, called him * the ghost.' Pleased 
by the title, the lad very often stood outside 
the gate, waiting till the stroke of the 
church clock for the half-hour faded into 
silence, before he rapped at the door. 

The first hour was devoted to the reading 
of articles from Chambers s Journal, All the 
Year Round, Cornhill, and other maga- 
zines. Then they adjourned to the little 
pantry for supper, which consisted of bread 
and cheese, radishes, milky puddings, or 
plum cake, and as the lad was an abstainer, 
fruit essence was provided as a beverage, 
whilst he mixed for himself a glass of grog. 


Edward Fitz-Gerald 

They always helped themselves, to prevent 
the housekeeper or her husband being 
disturbed. Then back to the sitting-room, 
when came what he called 'the piece de 
resistance' which was ofttimes a novel of 
Scott's or Dickens'. Sometimes a book of 
travel was selected, and one winter Pepys 
Diary, in six or eight volumes, was gone 
through. When he was in ordinary health, 
it was a pleasure to read to him, but when 
he suffered from an attack of gout, he was 
very difficult to please, and applied hard 
words sometimes to reader and author. 
But if he had been extra cutting in his 
remarks, he would either apologise to the 
lad, or, as he said, ' insult him in a pecuniary 

He always sat in a high-backed, low- 
seated, red-covered armchair, often in dress- 
ing-gown and slippers, and invariably kept 
his hat on, which seemed never to be 
removed except when he wanted a red 
handkerchief from the -interior.- Two wax 


The Life of 

candles were used for lighting the table. 
He sat with his feet on the fender, holding 
in his hand either a paper knife or his snuff 
box. If interested in what was read, he 
sat very still, making but little comment, 
but slightly fidgetting his beard with his 
paper knife ; but when not interested, he 
took snuff frequently, and shifted about un- 
easily, and if annoyed, he requested his 

reader emphatically to pass that d d 

rot. He never smoked whilst the reading 
was going on, but as soon as it was finished, 
he would take a new long clay pipe from a 
drawer, and fill it. The same pipe was not 
used more than once, as he always broke 
it after the tobacco was consumed, and the 
pieces were thrown into the fender. 

This young reader says : ' I remember 
one evening finding him in a very perturbed 
state of mind, having mislaid his spectacles, 
and when I asked him if I could help him 
in any way, he petulantly exclaimed, " Oh, 
no ! it is just about the way I shall get 


Edward Fitz-Gerald 

to heaven, searching for what I can't 

At the opening of this period his pros- 
pects were gloomy, but consolations in the 
shape of friendships gained and friendships 
renewed were in store for him, among which 
not the least valued was the beginning of 
his correspondence with Fanny Kemble. 
These 'Letters' began in 1871, and were 
continued with unfailing regularity till within 
a fortnight of his decease. The two friends 
had known each other from childhood, and 
this series of letters form almost an auto- 
biography of Fitz-Gerald during the period 
named, as he gossiped on all kinds of things, 
and of persons also who were known to his 
friend, and they included a considerable 
number of friends who were also well known 
to himself: Miss Thackeray, Tennyson, 
Carlyle, Spedding, W. B. Donne, and 

Fitz-Gerald was eccentric; Fanny Kemble 
was peculiar. She was a good corres- 


The Life of 

pondent, but was guided by rules that were 
as rigid as the laws of the Medes and 
Persians. In a letter to a friend, she says, 
' You bid me not answer your letter, but I 
Tiave certain organic laws of correspondence, 
from which nothing short of a miracle causes 
me to depart, as for instance, I never write 
till I am written to, I always write when I 
am written to, and I make a point of always 
returning the same amount of paper I 
receive.' Fitz-Gerald wrote to her once a 
month, the time fixed being the full moon, 
and no matter whether she was in Italy, 
France, Switzerland, America, or England, 
his letter was regularly despatched, though 
when the lady was on the Continent, he 
sometimes had to forward it to ' Coutts,' the 
London bankers, with a request that they 
would add the address. His great regard 
for Fanny Kemble may be measured by 
the fact that she was the only person to 
whom he wrote on his birthday. Fitz- 
Gerald hated Browning's poetry, and was 


Edward Fitz-Gerald 

pleased that, when solicited, she declined 
to become a member of the Browning 

Fitz-Gerald was cheered in the middle of 
May 1872, by a visit from Mr. W. F. 
Pollock — a son of Sir Frederick Pollock — 
one of the most regular of his correspondents, 
with whom he had been on intimate terms 
ever since their college days. Mr. Pollock 
was one of the contributors to Frasers 
Magazine, was fond of the drama, and had 
a good knowledge of music and pictures, so 
that they had much in common to gossip 
about. Fitz-Gerald had about eight years 
previously purchased the house he after- 
wards called ' Little Grange,' and expended 
a considerable sum of money in alterations, 
but he still remained in his lodgings over 
a gunsmith's shop, on the Market Hill, 
Woodbridge, his nieces having possession 
of the newly arranged house. Mr. Pollock 
says, 'he put me up at his own charge at 
the principal inn. No man who has de- 


The Life of 

served so much fame for his writings, was 
probably ever so modest and retiring. Our 
talk was chiefly of old days and old friends, 
J. M. Kemble, Thackeray, Spedding, 
Thompson, and others. In the neighbour- 
hood he is regarded as a benevolent oddity. 
One morning in the month of September 
Fitz-Gerald's aged housekeeper brought him 
a visiting card, on which he read with sur- 
prise and delight — 


Across this was written, in pencil, ' Dear 
Old Fitz, I am passing through and will call 
again.' Instead of calling again, Tennyson 
followed the housekeeper into Fitz-Gerald's 
room, and his hearty greeting announced 
his presence. The two friends, who had 
not met for twenty years, were at once so 
absorbed in the pleasure of meeting that it 
seemed as if their absence from each other 
had not been more than twenty days. The 
poet's eldest son Hallam was with him. 


Edward Fitz-Gerald 

They had been a tour in the district, and 
diverged a little from the ordinary route in 
order to give ' Old Fitz ' a call, and he 
seemed almost as pleased with the unpre- 
tending manners of the son, as he was with 
the old stories, and pictures of old times, 
and old friends which were vividly and 
fluently rehearsed by the father. He said 
Tennyson looked much the same, the loss 
of some of his flowing locks excepted. As 
his own house was not in a fit condition to 
receive the unexpected guests, he put them 
up at the chief hotel in Woodbridge, ' The 
Bull,' feeling sure that the landlord, John 
Grout, would take care that everything of 
the best was provided for his friends. The 
next day Fitz-Gerald took them to Ipswich 
for a trip by steamer down the charming 
river Orwell, the banks of which had much 
to delight the poet's eye. Tennyson stayed 
two days with his old friend, at the end of 
which they parted at the railway station to 
see each other no more. 


The Life of 

A humorous incident occurred in con- 
nection with this visit. When the poet and 
his son got out of the train, Tennyson asked 
one of the porters to direct him to the 
residence of Mr. Edward Fitz-Gerald. It 
so happened that a Mr. Edward Blood Fitz- 
Gerald was at that time stationed at Wood- 
bridge as superintendent of the county police 
of the district, and as he was much better 
known to the railway staff than was the 
translator of Omar, the poet laureate and 
his son were directed to the home of the 
superintendent in Seckford Street. When 
they reached the house the mistake of the 
railway porter was discovered, and superin- 
tendent Fitz-Gerald kindly escorted the 
travellers to ' Little Grange,' where the 
eccentric Edward Fitz-Gerald was found. 
This was probably the first and last time 
that the poet laureate was escorted to a 
friend's house by a policeman. 

Lord Tennyson has kindly permitted me 
to quote from his Life of the Poet Laureate. 


Edward Fitz-Gerald 

He says, ' Fitz-Gerald's vegetarianism in- 
terested my father, and he was charmed by 
the picture of the lonely philosopher, a man 
of humorous melancholy mark, with his 
grey floating locks, sitting among his doves, 
which perched about on head and shoulders 
and knees, and cooed to him as he sat in 
the sunshine beneath his roses.' 

Again, 'In September 1876, my father 
and I visited Fitz-Gerald at Woodbridge. 
He was affectionate, genial, and humorous, 
declaring that the captain of his lugger was 
one of the greatest of men. The views that 
Fitz-Gerald expressed to me on literature 
were original and interesting, but the old 
man never got off his own platform to look 
at the work of modern authors. He had 
always wanted men like Thackeray and 
my father to go along with his crotchets, 
which were many. He had not been 
carried away by their genius out of himself, 
and out of his own Cambridge critical 
groove ; and had not, like them, grown 


The Life of 

with the times.' After we had arrived 
home he wrote : — 

' Woodbridge, September 26th, 1876. 

' I am glad you were pleased with your 
short visit here. Perhaps you will one day, 
one or both of you, come again, and if you 
will but give me warning, and no nieces 
are in possession of the house, it shall be 
ready for you, and some tender meat pro- 
vided. Somehow I, when you were gone, 
felt somewhat abroad, and a few hours after 
went to an old village by the sea, Dunwich, 
once a considerable town, now swept into 
the sea, with the remains of a church on the 
cliff, and the walls of a priory beside. I 
was wishing that I had made you come with 
me, over a stretch of wild heath too, but 
there was no room in the little inn, and, I 
daresay, very tough meat! That fatal reed 
sticks in my side you see ! But I am still 
yours and all yours sincerely, 

' E. F. G. 

Edward Fitz-Gerald 

Tennyson, when he published ' Tiresias ' 
and other poems, exhibited to the world his 
regard for Edward Fitz-Gerald by dedi- 
cating the volume to him, as an old and 
much loved friend. In this dedication he 
thus affectionately addressed him : — 

' Old Fitz> who from your suburb grange 

Where once I tarried for a while, 
Glance at the wheeling orb of change, 

And greet it with a kindly smile ; 
Whom yet I see as there you sit 

Beneath your sheltering garden tree, 
And watch your doves about you flit, 

And plant on shoulder, hand, and knee, 
Or on your head their rosy feet, 

As if they knew your diet spares, 
Whatever moved in that full sheet 

Let down to Peter at his prayers ; 
Who live on milk, and meal, and grass.' 

This dedication was never seen by Fitz- 
Gerald. It was written only a short time 
before his decease, when the friendship of 
the two men had lasted nearly half a century, 
but the hand of death removed the Wood- 
bridge recluse before the publication of the 


The Life of 

volume. The dedication was intended as a 
birthday commemoration, which Tennyson 
said he knew his friend would welcome 

' Less for its own than for the sake 

Of one recalling gracious times, 
When in our younger London days 

You found some merit in my rhymes 
And I more pleasure in your praise.' 

Dr. Johnson says if a man does not make 
new acquaintances as he advances through life, 
he will very soon find himself alone. Deter- 
mined recluse as he was, Fitz-Gerald never- 
theless sometimes acted upon this aphorism 
of Johnson's. The ruined city of Dunwich, 
five or six miles from Southwold, was a 
favourite seaside resort of his during the 
summer months. It was lonely, desolate, 
and very exclusive. Its extent and popula- 
tion were far below that of many villages in 
its immediate neighbourhood, yet at that 
time it was a municipal borough. There 
was only one public-house and one lodging- 
house in the place, and Fitz-Gerald took 


Edward Fitz-Gerald 

care to secure the apartments there. On 
one of these occasions he found a gentleman 
in broken health occupying a cottage which 
he had bought, hoping that sea air in 
summer and autumn would improve his 
condition. This was Edwin Edwards, a 
London artist, who took to painting late in 
life, and was afterwards better known by 
his etchings of 'Old Inns' than by his 
work on canvas. Fitz-Gerald and he soon 
became friendly, and, Mrs Edwards being a 
capital companion, he found himself thor- 
oughly enjoying their society, and anxiously 
looking forward to their annual meetings at 
Dunwich. One year he lent them ' Little 
Grange ' for a month, and Edwards set 
about teaching him Spanish dominoes. On 
one of these annual visits Edwards had a 
more acute attack, and hastily returned to 
London, and a few weeks put an end to his 
sufferings. Fitz-Gerald found the place too 
solitary without them, and moved on to 
Lowestoft. He visited the sufferer on his 


The Life of 

deathbed, and afterwards went to London 
to see the widow, but he never more took 
lodgings at Dunwich. 

During one of these visits to Dunwich, 
Fitz-Gerald made the acquaintance of 
Charles Keene, one of the artists on Punch, 
who was staying with Mr and Mrs Edwin 
Edwards, and was so pleased with his 
company that he invited him to Woodbridge, 
and renewed the invitation every year. In 
many ways Keene was just the man to be a 
fitting companion for * Old Fitz.' In eating 
and drinking Keene was very abstemious ; 
he was a lover of music — mostly of old 
music, — and was well versed in quaint old 
English literature. This taste of his ex- 
plains in some degree the rapidity with 
which his intimacy with Fitz-Gerald ripened. 
He had a quiet, humorous way with him, 
and, like Fitz-Gerald, was very shy among 
strangers, but lighted up immensely among 
friends. All through his life he was very 
much at peace with dust and cobwebs, and 


Edward Fitz-Gerald 

was fond of sitting in a room amid a chaos 
of old things, pictures, books, &c. He was 
a great smoker, and always used a short 
old fashioned little clay, which being small 
of bowl frequently needed refilling. He 
was careless in dress, did not mince his 
words, and paid no extra respect to a black 
cloth suit. When going on a holiday, he 
carried a very small portmanteau, which was 
made to contain all the luggage that he 
needed for a fortnight. 1 This is a fair 
description of the last man that Fitz-Gerald 
added to his list of friends. 

Keene's description of Fitz-Gerald runs 
thus : — ' At Dunwich there was an old 
literato, who had the only lodging in the 
place. He was quite a character, an Irish- 
man, an author and bookworm, who remem- 
bered Kean and the Kembles and Liston, 
and was full of talk about old times, and 
dead and gone people. We met every 
evening, and talked belles lettres, Shake- 

1 Layard's Life of Keene. 
T 289 

The Life of 

speare, and the musical glasses till midnight.' 
In another letter he says, * Old Fitz-Gerald 
is an eccentric old fellow ; they think him 
daft at Woodbridge, but he's just one of 
our sort, very bookish, and fond of art and 
delightful company. He is a great 

admirer of Bewick, and has a lot of proofs, 
and a block or two given him, I think, by 
Barnes of Durham. He's a great scholar, 
and a slashing critic about pictures ; his 
taste is for the old masters, and he knew all 
the literary men about town in Thacke- 
ray's early time, a friend of Tennysons 
and of Tom Carlyle the Diogenes of 

Again, June 1881, 'I went to stay with 
my old friend Fitz-Gerald at Woodbridge, 
and find since I've been back that he is a 
great unknown genius in some high critical 
circles. I was mentioning my visits to W. 
B. Scott, who is one of Rossetti's, Swin- 
burne, &c, set, and of my friend having 
translated some Persian poems and 


Edward Fitz-Gerald 

Calderon's Plays, &c. He jumped off his 
chair ! " Do you know him ? Why Ram 
Jam (some wonderful Persian name he gave 
it) is the most exquisite work of the age, 
and Rossetti considers the translation from 
Calderon the finest thing," &c.' 

Fitz-Gerald writing to Fanny Kemble, 
May 1 88 1, says, 'And now my house 
is being pulled about my ears by pre- 
paration for my nieces next week, I believe 
that Charles Keene will be here from Friday 
to Monday. As he has long talked of 
coming, I do not like to put him off now 
that he has really proposed to come, and we 
shall scramble on somehow. I will get a 
carriage, and take him a long drive into the 
country where it is greenest.' 

May 29th, 1882, ' I have Charles Keene 
staying Whitsuntide with me, and was to 
have had Archdeacon Groome to meet him, 
but he is worn out with Archidiaconal 
Charges and cannot come, but C. K. and I 
have been out in carriage to the sea, and 


The Life of 

no visitors nor host could wish for finer 

May 1883, ' Next week I am expecting 
my grave friend Charles Keene of Punch to 
come for a week, bringing with him his bag- 
pipes, and a book of Madrigals, and our 
Archdeacon will come to meet him and to 
talk ancient music and books, and we three 
shall drive out past the green hedges and 
heaths, with their furze in blossom — and I 
wish — yes I do, that you were of the 

May 27th, 1883, he says to his friend, 
1 I have had Charles Keene staying with me 
for ten days. He is a very good guest, 
inasmuch as he entertains himself with 
books and birds' nests, and also his bag- 
pipes — his favourite instrument.' Late in 
the evening, Keene used to go into Fitz- 
Gerald's garden to blow away at his bag- 
pipes, to the great astonishment of the 
yokels, who were passing by, who did not, 
however, admire the music. 


Edward Fitz-Gerald 

The Rev. R. C. M. Rouse, who was for 
many years Rector of Woodbridge, writes 
me : ' Fitz-Gerald, as you know, was very 
much of a recluse, so that I saw him very 
occasionally. One of the most enjoyable 
afternoons I ever spent was when I went 
with Archdeacon Groome, who was staying 
with me, to call on him. Keene, the artist 
(on the Punch staff), was staying with him, 
and it certainly was an intellectual treat such 
as I have not often enjoyed. On leaving, 
E. F. G. said "Mr Rouse, don't forget to 
come with the Archdeacon the next time he 
comes to see me," and it was not long after 
that, he and I attended his funeral.' 

In the early part of the year 1881 Fitz- 
Gerald experienced one of the severest 
shocks that he had felt during the whole of 
his life. This was news, that his friend 
Spedding had been knocked down and run 
over by a cab, and so seriously injured that 
he was taken at once to St George's 
Hospital, where he died, his injuries being 


The Life of 

so severe that the doctors would not risk his 
being removed to his home. His death was 
a terrible blow to Fitz-Gerald. His anxiety 
about ' Dear Old Jem ' was so great, that as 
soon as he heard of the accident, he wrote 
to a friend asking that a post card might be 
sent to him daily with a word or two only on 
it thus — 'better' — 'less well,' or whatever 
it might be. Spedding was the man with 
whom among his dearest friends Fitz-Gerald 
had the greatest affinity. The friendship of 
these two men began at school, and lasted 
nearly sixty years, although during the 
latter part of their lives half-yearly letters 
were the extent of their correspondence, and 
when Spedding died, the two friends had 
not seen each other for twenty years. To 
Professor Norton, Fitz-Gerald wrote, ' He 
was the wisest man I have known, a 
Socrates in Life and in Death. There 

was no one I loved and honoured more.' 

Whilst staying at Aldeburgh in 'the 
autumn of 1882, Fitz-Gerald accidentally 


Edward Fitz-Gerald 

got into friendly relations with the well- 
known blind Professor Henry Fawcett. 
The Professor, in 1867, married Milicent, 
daughter of Mr Newson Garret of Alde- 
burgh, and whilst on one of his annual 
visits to his father-in-law he heard that Mr 
Aldis Wright of Cambridge was staying in 
the place with Fitz-Gerald. He called upon 
his friend, and the professor was so pleased 
with the conversation he had with the 
Persian scholar that he embraced an oppor- 
tunity after A. W. had departed to spend an 
evening with Fitz-Gerald, who was as much 
surprised at the robust appearance and fine 
presence of the blind statesman, as he was 
delighted to hear his genial and hearty 
laugh. He also rejoiced to find that the 
Professor was a good smoker, for nothing 
pleased Fitz-Gerald more than to have an 
evening gossip, whilst both parties puffed 
away at tobacco. Fitz in writing to Fanny 
Kemble directly after the event says, * I 
have made a new acquaintance,' and de- 


The Life of 

scribed him as a ' thoroughly unaffected, 
unpretending man ; so modest indeed that I 
was ashamed afterwards to think how I had 
harangued him all the evening, instead of 
getting him to instruct me. But I would 
not ask him about his Parliamentary shop, 
and I should not have understood his 
political economy, and I believe he was very 
glad to be talked to instead, about some of 
those he knew, and some I had known. 
And as we were in Crabbe's Borough, we 
talked of him. The Professor, who had 
never read a word, I believe, about him, or 
of him, was pleased to hear a little, and I 
advised him to buy the Life, written by 
Crabbe's son, and I would give him my 
abstract of the Tales of the Hall by way of 
giving him a taste of the poet's self.' x 

Mrs. Fawcett, writing to me of this inter- 
view, says — ' I did not accompany my 
husband when he spent the evening with 
Fitz-Gerald in 1882, and I have no distinct 

1 Fitz- Gerald's Letters to Fanny Kemble. 

Edward Fitz-Gerald 

recollection of what my husband said about 
him on his return, except that they had had 
a very interesting conversation. On one 
occasion, I think also in 1882, my daughter 
went with her father to call on Mr. Fitz- 
Gerald when he was at Aldeburgh. Mr. 
Fitz-Gerald asked her what books she liked 
best. She replied, "Thackeray's and George 
Eliot's." He exclaimed, "What can your 
mother be thinking of to let you read such 
books?" He gave my husband Readings 
from Crabbe and Crabbe's Life and Letters 
as a souvenir of his visit.' 

There was but little variation as to habits 
during the last ten years of his life. He 
was wearily resting even from those things 
which had interested and fascinated him for 
years, not from choice, but from compulsion. 
His eyes still troubled him greatly. He 
frequently could not bear the light from sun 
or lamp without wearing odious blue 
spectacles, which he could only discard 
when looking on grass or green leaves. 


The Life of 

Even in his own garden he walked about 
with a green shade over his eyes. Excep- 
tions he had, as he notes that after a stroll 
in his garden one evening by moonlight, 
shoes kicked off and slippers and dressing- 
gown on, he went in to try a letter to his 
friend Pollock. This improvement of his 
eyes was brought about by careful nursing, 
but when so improved, it was not long 
before he ventured on boating under a 
glaring sun, and thus he soon put his eyes 
out of kelter again. 

In 1877 his old boatman, West, died. 
He had employed him more than a dozen 
years, and after the loss of his services he 
did not seem to have the heart to make his 
customary trips on the Deben. His solitary 
disposition increased. He gave up most of 
his house during the summer and autumn of 
each year to the use of his nieces, but, he 
said, 'they make but little change in my 
own way of life. They live by themselves, 
and I only see them now and then in the 


Edward Fitz-Gerald 

garden, sometimes not five minutes in the 
day.' He frequently went to Lowestoft, 
either to lounge on the shore or to meet 
friends who were staying there. In the 
morning he might be seen chatting with 
Lord Hatherley on the esplanade, or walk- 
ing on the pier with Dean Merivale or Dr. 
Thompson, the master of Trinity College, 
Cambridge, and in the evening he would be 
smoking a pipe on the bowling green of the 
Suffolk Hotel, with the late captain of his 
lugger or one of his crew. He did not like 
adverting to his own ailments ; but of one 
of his visits to Lowestoft he writes — ' I am 
going myself to meet the Cowells at Lowes- 
toft ; not very well myself, and (as I tell 
him) not so alert in mind or body as when 
we met there nine years ago. But I must 
do my best, and may find the change do me 
good, though I a little dread leaving my 
seclusion for company even of those I love 
so well. I feel that a very little company 
goes a long way now.' On a later occasion 


The Life of 

he spent ten days at Lowestoft, having Pro- 
fessor Cowell and his wife as neighbours. 
'We had two or three hours of Don 
Quixote's company of a morning, and only 
ourselves for company at night.' These 
friends did more than any others to make 
the evening of Fitz-Gerald's life comfortable, 
whenever they had the opportunity of so 


Edward Fitz-Gerald 


The last year of Fitz-Gerald's life opened, 
as far as health was concerned, more favour- 
ably than many of its predecessors. The 
early months were mild, and he told his 
friends that he had not much to complain of 
on the score of health. He had escaped 
any severe attack of bronchitis, from which 
he had suffered more or less during many 
winters. He got through the sunless days 
and the east winds of March pretty well, 
and his letters of this date show that he 
wrote with a firmer hand, and exhibited 
signs of improved condition. He was 
troubled at times by pains about the region 
of the heart, but he had learned from his 
doctor that this was one of the ills which he 
had to bear for the rest of his life. 


The Life of 

Nevertheless, the infirmities of age crept 
on, bringing signs of the approaching end. 
The bend of the limbs, the loss of elasticity 
in* his step, the curvature of the neck, occa- 
sional dimness of sight, and failing memory, 
were admonitions that his work was nearly 
done, that the hour would soon strike for his 
final rest. He told his friends that he began 
to ' smell the ground,' as sailors say of the 
ship that slackens speed when the water 
shallows under her. He frequently alluded 
to the sudden death of his mother, and said 
that members of his family rarely lived 
beyond seventy. He did not wish for long 
life, still less for a lingering death ; wise 
man that he was, he learnt to anticipate the 
inevitable with tranquillity. One thing he 
hoped, that he should not live on with im- 
paired faculties ; thankfulness was in his 
heart when he wrote that he had only 
bronchitis to trouble him, whilst several of 
his friends had recently suffered from attacks 
of paralysis. 


Edward Fitz-Gerald 

When May arrived he felt himself well 
enough to undertake a journey to London, 
a place, above all, that he hated. Moreover, 
he had to go on disagreeable business. This 
over, he paid visits to the statue of his old 
friend Carlyle, on the Chelsea embankment, 
and to the house in Cheyne Row. With 
the statue he was pleased, but said that the 
environment spoilt the effect it might have 
produced ; it wanted a good background to 
set it off. He had not seen Carlyle's home 
for nearly a quarter of a century, and as this 
might be his last visit to London he resolved 
to take one last look at the old house in 
which he had smoked many a pipe, drank 
many a cup of tea, and enjoyed many dis- 
cussions with his old friend. But a shock 
was in store for him. When the cabman 
stopped at No. 5 Cheyne Row he found the 
house not only shut up and uninhabited, but 
wearing an utterly neglected appearance, 
whilst a board, To Let, stared him in the 


The Life of 

This was too much for him. He thought 
of the pains Mrs. Carlyle had taken to make 
this home attractive to her husband's friends, 
men and women from all parts of the world, 
who called to see the Chelsea sage, and now 
to see it covered with dirt, and with weeds 
growing abundantly in front, was a scene 
that disgusted him, and he got away from 
it, and from London also, as quickly as he 
could, and settled himself in his own dull 

Fortunately, he was soon cheered by re- 
ceiving the promise of a visit from Charles 
Keene. During the last years of his life, 
when most of his dearest friends were lost 
to him by death, when he could read little, 
and walking was an effort, he sat almost 
every evening smoking in his room, and 
having knocked the white ashes out of his 
pipe, the smoke from which had been curl- 
ing in brave wreaths to the ceiling two 
minutes before, he could not, whenever a 
neighbour called in, conceal his longing for 


Edward Fitz-Gerald 

a letter giving news of his friends. Lord 
Tennyson was now almost the only one left, 
out of that early batch, to whom he clung 
as Jonathan did to David. So anxious was 
he to see his face that a year or two previous 
he had written, 'are you ever coming this 
way again ? ' And only two months before 
his death he pathetically wrote to the son, 
Hallam (now Lord Tennyson), * It is now 
six months since I heard of you all, so be a 
good boy, and write me just enough to tell 
me how it fares with mother and father and 
all your party.' 

Keene came, and brought with him his 
bagpipes. Fitz-Gerald was quite jubilant at 
the prospect of his company, and his love of 
nature was cheered at the chance of a drive 
to Dunwich, which would give him a good 
view of the country at the zenith of its spring- 
tide glory, when the furze was in full bloom, 
and all nature appeared to be rejoicing. 

Fitz-Gerald always derived much pleasure 
from his visit to his friend Crabbe. In- 
u 305 

The Life of 

dependent of the bond of friendship which 
bound him to the rector and his sisters, 
the village itself had many attractions for 
him. Less change had been made there 
than in Suffolk parishes. The hand of 
modern improvement was not visible ; he 
said it was still the old country, which in his 
own neighbourhood had been swept away. 
Small enclosures with hedgeway timber, 
cottages with thatched coverings, and old- 
style farm houses with red-tiled roofs de- 
lighted him. To crown all, there was in 
the parish a fine Elizabethan mansion, the 
residence of Lord Walsingham, which was 
surrounded by fine oak trees and woods. 

Fitz-Gerald exhibited in many ways his 
attachment to the rector and his sisters. 
He had known them from childhood. 
Their father, who for more than twenty 
years lived within two miles of Fitz-Gerald's 
cottage at Boulge, was his bosom friend, 
and the son whom he now went to visit had 
many qualities that won for him a place in 


Edward Fitz-Gerald 

Fitz-Gerald's affections. The Rev. George 
Crabbe of the third generation was of 
modest mien, free from self-seeking and 
self-assertion, warm in his friendships, 
securing the esteem and love of others. 
He possessed a cultivated taste, taking 
pleasure in painting and architecture, and 
was a student of archaeology. Suffering 
from delicate health, he passed many 
winters away from home in the milder 
climates of Mentone and Bournemouth, and 
had visited Rome, Madrid, and Northern 
Italy. At the time of Fitz-Gerald's visit 
Crabbe was sixty-four years of age, and in 
taste, knowledge, and disposition, was as 
suitable a companion as could be wished for 
Fitz-Gerald, who showed his appreciation 
by making him one of his executors, 
bequeathing him the sum of ^500 for his 
trouble, and leaving a legacy of ,£1,000 to 
his eldest sister. 

On the morning of Wednesday, June 
13th, 1883, Fitz-Gerald left Woodbridge 


The Life of 

for Merton Rectory. The journey was 
tedious, as the village is located in an out- 
of-the-way part of Norfolk. Charles 
Keene, who had accompanied Fitz-Gerald 
on one of these annual visits, said they had 
to change five times in getting there by 
rail, besides having to wait four hours at 
Norwich. On this last visit, however, 
Fitz-Gerald went by way of Bury St. 
Edmunds and Thetford, and his friend 
Crabbe met him at Watton Station, about 
three miles from Merton rectory. The 
rector's sisters were at the door to welcome 
him, after which he had a wash and a brush 
up before he sat down to tea. Then he 
talked of the old Abbey at Bury St. 
Edmunds, and the beautiful remains of its 
former greatness which he had just seen ; 
charming his host by his descriptions. The 
heat of the day seemed to have tired him, 
the dust had annoyed him, and he said on 
his arrival that he felt ' so dirty.' Later on 
he was in better spirits, talked much as 


Edward Fitz-Gerald 

usual about old times, and walked with his 
friend in the grounds surrounding the house, 
which brought into memory scenes and per- 
sons familiar to him through his annual visits. 

He had an agreeable gossip over the 
supper-table, but refrained from partaking 
of food, and about ten o'clock retired to rest. 
Mr. Crabbe went upstairs with him, and 
beyond a feeling of fatigue arising from the 
journey, there was nothing to cause any 
uneasiness on the part of his friends. Next 
morning, before the breakfast hour, his 
friend went to the chamber door to enquire 
how he was after the night's rest, and 
getting no response opened the door, went 
in, and found him apparently sleeping, but 
in reality dead. At the age of seventy-four, 
from the midst of his quiet and unpreten- 
tious occupations, he passed painlessly into 
that perfect rest that remaineth for the 
people of God. 

It was with Fitz-Gerald as with others. 
He had outlived most of his contemporaries, 


The Life of 

and as life became circumscribed, interest in 
it diminished : memories rather than per- 
sonalities had to be appealed to. Among 
others, Carlyle, Thackeray, Donne, Sped- 
ding had vanished, leaving Fitz-Gerald on 
the bank, a pathetic lonely figure, peering 
into futurity, it may be, conjecturing what 
death was like, forewarned and forearmed 
for the last conflict in which he would have 
to play his part. The end was, if not 
dramatic, striking alike in its suddenness 
and tenderness. Of his friends, Thackeray 
alone crossed the bar on a like peaceful 
ripple. That a man who had few enjoy- 
ments of domestic life, having a wife but 
none of the pleasures of the marriage state, 
having a house but not in the true sense 
of the word a home, and thus tasting 
little of the sweetness of life ; that he 
should leave his lonely retreat to end 
his days under the roof of his most inti- 
mate friends ; that his last hours should 
be with the son and the daughters of one 


Edward Fitz-Gerald 

who was his dearest friend ; that with them 
he should call up old memories, and per- 
chance open up new hopes ; that, as he left 
them for the night the Angel of Death 
should be hovering over him, and that ere 
the break of day, light and darkness were 
all the same to him, for again he would 
know neither — all this sounds like the 
romance, rather than the actuality, of life ; 
all the same Fitz-Gerald had gone to that 
' bourne whence no traveller returns. 1 What 
there is of sadness in sudden death was felt 
in that secluded rectory house wherein an 
honoured guest had said his last farewell, 
and paid his last visit. 

Save those who lay violent hands upon 
themselves, none can prescribe the method or 
means by which they shall turn their faces to 
the wall ; but I am fain to believe that had 
Fitz-Gerald had the opportunity of selecting 
the manner of his exit, he would have pre- 
ferred none to that silent, painless summons, 
which came in the hush of night whilst the 

3 11 

The Life of 

world slumbered and slept. The meeting of 
Death and Fitz-Gerald was in harmony with 
his life. He was, so to say, lonely to the 
end ; somewhat of a recluse in life, he was 
humoured in the manner of leaving it ; he 
troubled no one, nor was he troubled on his 
part by the grim functions which custom 
and nature have set up around deathbeds. 
If the manner of his death was in harmony 
with his life, surely no more fitting spot 
for bidding adieu to the world could have 
been found than Merton rectory. ' By a 
divine instinct, men's minds mistrust en- 
suing dangers,' so it is said. Whatever 
thoughts led Fitz-Gerald to his friends, it 
was well that his eyes closed amongst those 
whom he had affectionately embraced from 
childhood, and who, apart from their own 
merits, were loved by him as the children of 
one to whom he was warmly attached. 
There was a keen touch of human nature 
about Fitz-Gerald ; he loved his lost friends 
in their offspring. 


Edward Fitz-Gerald 

The following lines written by Mrs. 
Barbauld, and the authorship of which 
Wordsworth is said to have coveted, con- 
vey far better than I can express Edward 
Fitz-Gerald's view of life and death : — 

' Life, I know not what thou art, 
But know that thou and I must part ; 
And when or how or where we met 
I own to me is a secret yet. 
Life ! we have been long together, 
Through pleasant and through cloudy weather ; 
'Tis hard to part when friends are dear ; 
Perhaps 'twill cost a sigh, a tear ; 
Then, steal away, give little warning ; 

Choose thine own time, 

Say not " Good night," but in some brighter 

Bid me " Good morning." ' 

His remains were removed to his resi- 
dence ' Little Grange,' Woodbridge, and on 
Tuesday, June 19th, were interred in a plain 
earthen grave in Boulge Churchyard, sur- 
rounded by the graves of the labouring poor 
— a quiet resting place, shut in from the 


The Life of 

park by graceful trees, and silent but for the 
songs of birds and the hum of insects. He 
disliked ostentation, and by direction of the 
executors the funeral was conducted in 
accordance with what were known to be 
his wishes. The coffin, of plain oak, with 
brass furniture, was covered with wreaths 
and crosses — one of them, a beautiful 
wreath, being sent by Alfred Tennyson, 
Poet Laureate. His friend Archdeacon 
Groome mentioned that, not long before his 
decease, he expressed a wish that if any text 
were put upon his tombstone, it should be 
one which (as he said) he did not remember 
ever to have seen similarly used. The 
inscription on the granite slab which covers 
the grave is — ' Edward Fitz-Gerald, born 
31st March 1809, Died 14th June 1883. 
" It is He that hath made us, and not we 
ourselves." ' 

Around the grave old friends, tried 
friends, loving friends gathered. Many who 
for years had been numbered among his 


Edward Fitz-Gerald 

dearest companions — men who had long 
before learnt to love the simple habits and 
unaffected manner of Fitz-Gerald, as much 
as they were proud of his great abilities as 
displayed in his literary work. They com- 
prised his nephews, Mr. Walter and Mr. 
Edmund Kerrich, Rev. E. G. Doughty, 
Rev. George Crabbe, The Venerable Arch- 
deacon Groome, Professor Cowell, Mr. 
Mowbray Donne, Mr. F. C. Brooke, Rev. 
R. C. M. Rouse, Major Rolla Rouse, Mr. 
Aldis Wright, Mr. W. E. Crowfoot, Mr. 
Richard Jones, Mr. Herman Biddell, Mr. 
F Spalding, and many others. Foster in 
his Life of Goldsmith, says that at his 
funeral a large number of poor people came 
as mourners. In a similar way, folk of the 
same class attended at the burial of Edward 
Fitz-Gerald. They grieved for the loss of 
him who had never forgotten to be kind 
and charitable to them. 

In the literary world, posthumous justice 
has not been denied to Fitz-Gerald, but the 


The Life of 

work of the man was very slightly valued by 
the public whilst he lived, and thus he was 
never conscious of the fame that awaited 
him. The English people are certainly 
open to reproach on this score, no matter 
whether the subject relates to Art or 
Letters. The value of Fitz-Gerald's Persian 
translations, was far more quickly recognised 
in America than in England. Fortunately 
those Englishmen who appreciated the 
power and beauty of Fitz-Gerald's work 
were men of influence, who were able to 
impregnate the thought of the age, and by 
this means the small band of worshippers of 
Omar increased year by year, and in 1892 
the ' Omar Khayyam Club,' which might 
more appropriately be named the Edward 
Fitz-Gerald Club, was formed. 

The year after its formation, that is, ten 
years after Fitz-Gerald's decease, a number 
of literary gentlemen from London, members 
of the Club, made a pilgrimage to the grave 
of Edward Fitz-Gerald, for the purpose of 


Edward Fitz-Gerald 

planting a rose tree thereon. The rose was 
developed from seeds taken from Omar's 
grave, and grafted on an English stock. 
To Mr. William Simpson of the Illustrated 
London News, the friends were indebted for 
this graceful tribute to Fitz-Gerald's 
memory. The planting of the tree, was 
performed by Mr. Curtis, head gardener at 
Boulge Hall, and before the ceremony was 
over, a shower came very appropriately, as 
if to bless the effort. 

Mr. Simpson, when addressing the friends 
around the grave, explained how, accom- 
panying the Afghan Boundary Commission 
from Teheran to Central Asia in 1884, the 
route lay near Naishapur, the capital of Khor- 
assan in the time of Omar, in which the poet 
astromoner was born, and in which he was 
buried. Through Fitz-Gerald's version, the 
Quatrains of Omar had long been highly 
prized by Mr. Simpson. This made him 
anxious to visit the grave of the poet, and 
on being conducted to the desolate city, he 


The Life of 

found the tomb of the old ' Tent Maker ' 
still preserved, and his expressed wish that 
his grave might be where the north wind 
may strew roses upon it had been lovingly 
responded to. Mr. Edward Clodd has 
remarked, ' Omar Khayyam has been dead 
nigh eight hundred years, but his words 
have not passed away. Roses still scatter 
their petals by his resting-place. 1 And 
luckily it happened that Mr. Simpson was 
there in the autumn, when the bushes were 
in seed. He gathered some of the hips, and 
sent them to Mr. Quaritch. That gentle- 
man forwarded them to Mr. Thistleton 
Dyer, the director of Kew Gardens, and 
under his watchful care a bush was success- 
fully reared, but owing to climatic conditions 
it could only be made strong enough for 
planting by being grafted on a lusty 
English stock. When Mr. Simpson 
repeated his story to his old friend 
Edward Clodd, they agreed that the fittest 

1 Pilgrimage to Edward Fitz-Gerald's Grave. 


Edward Fitz-Gerald 

thing to do was to plant a cutting from this 
rose tree on Fitz-Gerald's grave, and into 
this idea Mr. Thistleton Dyer and the 
members of the Omar Club entered heartily. 
' I understand,' said Mr. Simpson, ' by this 
means, the Persian rose here planted, will 
now bloom on English soil, a fitting emblem 
of the manner in which the Persian rhymes, 
by being grafted on to English verse, have 
flourished, and wafted to us the fine scent of 
Omar's poetic words.' He concluded by 
reciting an appropriate verse written for the 
occasion by Mr. Grant Allen, who regretted 
that he could not be with his friends at this 

' Here on Fitz-Gerald's grave from Omar's tomb, 
To lay fit tribute, pilgrim singers flock ; 
Long with a double fragrance let it bloom, 
This rose of Iran on an English Stock.' 

Mr. Moncure Conway said : ' It gives me 
great pleasure as an American to say how 
dear to many of us over there is the poetry 
of Omar Khayyam, and how much grati- 


The Life of 

tude we have always felt to Edward Fitz- 
Gerald for having not merely translated 
him, but interpreted him, so that it is 
almost like the reappearance of Omar 
Khayyam in an English heart and an 
English brain.' Mr. Edward Clodd, the 
organiser of the movement, read some dedi- 
catory verses by Mr. Edmund Gosse, after 
which a few words of acknowledgment from 
Colonel Kerrich, a nephew, and one of 
Fitz-Gerald's executors, followed the attach- 
ment of a plate bearing this inscription to 
the grave : — 

' This Rose-Tree raised in Kew Gardens from 
seed brought by William Simpson, artist traveller, 
from the grave of Omar Khayyam at Naish a pur, 
was planted by a few admirers of Edward Fitz- 
Gerald in the name of the Omar Khayyam Club. 

'7th October 1893.' * 

Sir William Brampton Gurdon, K.C.M.G., 
kindly invited the party to luncheon at 

1 Pilgrimage to Edward Fitz-Gerald's Grave. 

Edward Fitz-Gerald 

Grundisburgh Hall, after which some ex- 
cellent quatrains, contributed by the Presi- 
dent of the Omar Khayyam Club, Mr. 
Justin Huntly M'Carthy, were read, as 
under : — 

From Naishapiir to England, from the tomb 
Where Omar slumbers to the Narrow Room 
That shrines Fitz-Gerald's ashes, Persia sends 
Perfume and Pigment of her Rose to bloom. 

Wedded with rose of England, for a sign 
That English lips, transmuting the divine 
High piping music of the song that ends, 
As it began, with Wine, and Wine, and Wine. 

Across the ages caught the words that fell 
From Omar's mouth, and made them audible 
To the unnumbered sitters at Life's Feast 
Who wear their hearts out over Heaven and Hell. 

Vex not to-day with wonder which were best, 
The Student, Scholar, Singer of the West, 
Or Singer, Scholar, Student of the East, 
The soul of Omar burned in England's breast. 

And howsoever Autumn's breezes blow 
About this Rose, and Winter's fingers throw 
In mockery of Oriental noons 
Upon this grass the monumental snow. 

X 3 21 

The Life of 

Still in our dreams the Eastern Rose survives 
Lending diviner fragrance to our lives ; 
The World is old, cold, warned by waning moons, 
But Omar's creed in English verse revives. 

The fountain in the tulip-tinted dale, 
The manuscript of some melodious tale 
Babbling of love and lover's passion-pale, 
Of Rose, of Cypress, and of Nightingale. 

The cup that Saki proffers to our lips, 

The cup from which the Rose-Red Mercy drips, 

Bidding forget how, like a sinking sail, 

Day after day into the darkness slips ; 

The wisdom that the Watcher of the Skies 

Won from the wandering stars that soothed his eyes, 

The legend writ below, around, above, 

' One thing at least is certain, this Life flies ' ; 

These were the gifts of Omar — these he gave 
Full handed : his Disciple sought to save 
Some portion for his people, and their love 
Plants Omar's Rose upon an English grave. 

Mr. Edward Clodd has kindly permitted 
me to reprint from his privately printed 
Pilgrimage, a stanza from the poetic tribute 
sent by Mr Theodore Watts : — 


Edward Fitz-Gerald 


Hear us, ye winds, North, East, and West, and South ; 
This granite covers him whose golden mouth 
Made wiser ev'n the word of Wisdom's King ; 
Blow softly o'er the grave of Omar's herald 
Till roses rich of Omar's dust shall spring 
From richer dust of Suffolk's rare Fitz-Gerald . 




This is the Last Will and Testament of me, 
Edward Fitz- Gerald, of Woodbridge, in 
the County of Suffolk, Esquire, made this 
third day of April one thousand eight hun- 
dred and eighty-three. I appoint my nephew 
Lieutenant-Colonel Edmund Kerrich and my 
friends the Reverend George Crabbe of Merton 
Watton in the County of Norfolk, Clerk, and the 
Reverend Ernest George Doughty of Martlesham 
in the County of Suffolk, Clerk, Executors of this 
my Will, and Trustees for the purposes herein- 
after mentioned : I direct that all my just debts 
and my funeral and testamentary expenses may 
be paid as soon as conveniently can be after my 
decease, and that my funeral may be conducted 
in a simple and inexpensive manner ; and I 
direct my said executors to reward handsomely 
at their discretion all persons who may be in 
my service at the time of my decease, or who 
may have attended or waited upon me during 
my last illness, each according to desert (except 
those especially provided for by this my Will, 


Will of Edward Fitz-Gerald 

and those, if any, whom I may specially reward 
or provide for by any Codicil or Codicils to this 
my Will) : I give, devise, and bequeath all and 
every the freehold and leasehold messuages, 
lands, tenements, hereditaments, and premises 
whereof or whereto I or any person or persons 
in trust for me am, are, or is seized or entitled, 
or which I have power to give or dispose of by 
this my Will, whether in possession, reversion, 
remainder, or expectancy, with the appurtenances 
(save and except such as are vested in me in 
trust or by way of mortgage), unto and to the 
use of the said Edmund Kerrich, George Crabbe, 
and Ernest George Doughty, their heirs, executors, 
administrators, and assigns according to the 
nature of the said estates respectively upon trust : 
and I do authorise, empower, and direct my said 
trustees, or the trustees or trustee for the time 
being, under this my will, with all convenient 
speed after my decease, to make, sale, and dispose 
of my said freehold and leasehold estates ; and 
I also authorise, empower, and direct my trustees 
or trustee for the time being to make, sale, and 
dispose of all the copyhold or customary mes- 
suages, lands, tenements, and hereditaments of 
or to which I or any person or persons in trust 
for me may be seized or entitled at the time of 
my decease, and I direct that such hereditaments 
(freehold, leasehold, and copyhold) may be sold 
either together or in parcels, and by public 
auction or private contract, for the most money 
and best prices that can be reasonably obtained 



for the same, and with liberty to buy in and 
resell the same or any part or parts thereof at 
discretion, and I declare that the net proceeds of 
sale of my said real and leasehold estates, after 
paying the expenses of and attending such sale, 
shall sink into and form part of my personal 
estate ; I give to each of them, the said George 
Crabbe and Ernest George Doughty, the sum of 
five hundred pounds for his care and trouble in 
the execution of the trusts of this my Will ; I 
give to Margaret, Honoria, and Mary Frances, 
three of the daughters of my Uncle Peter Purcell, 
now or late of Halverstown, County Kildare, 
Ireland, the sum of five hundred pounds each ; 
and I also give to Eva Purcell, a grand-daughter 
of my said Uncle Peter Purcell, the sum of five 
hundred pounds ; I give to William Biddell, now 
of Lavenham Hall, in the County of Suffolk, 
Esquire, M.P., and the Reverend Francis Bathurst, 
Vicar of Diddington, Huntingdonshire, the sum 
of one thousand pounds sterling, upon trust, to 
invest the same in their names in Government 
Funds or on Mortgage securities at interest, or 
in Bank Stock or Railway Debentures (with 
power at discretion to vary the securities for 
others of a like nature), and upon further trust 
that they or the survivor of them or his executors 
or administrators, or their or his assigns, shall 
pay the annual dividends, interest, and proceeds 
thereof, when and as the same shall be received, 
to and between Edith Airy, Sybel Airy, Mabel 
Airy, and Beatrice Airy, four of the daughters 


Will of Edward Fitz-Gerald 

of the Reverend William Airy of Keysoe in the 
County of Bedford, in equal shares, with benefit 
of survivorship between them ; and upon the 
death of the last survivor of them I direct that 
the whole of the principal of the said trust fund 
shall be divided equally between and amongst 
the issue (if any) of such of them as shall die 
leaving lawful issue, share and share alike, per 
capita ; and if all of them, the said four daughters, 
shall die without leaving lawful issue, then I 
direct that the whole of the said trust fund shall 
be paid to the last surviving daughter, her 
executors, administrators, or assigns, for her or 
their own absolute use and benefit, to whom I 
give and bequeath the same accordingly : I give 
the sum of one thousand pounds equally between 
all the daughters of Frederick Tennyson of 
Saint Heliers, in the Island of Jersey, Esquire, 
to be paid to them as soon as conveniently can 
be after the decease of the survivor of myself and 
my wife Lucy Fitz-Gerald, with benefit of sur- 
vivorship between them in case of the death of 
any of them in the lifetime of myself or my said 
wife without leaving lawful issue ; but if any of 
them shall be then dead leaving lawful issue, each 
issue shall take the share which their, his, or her 
deceased mother would have been entitled to if 
living, equally if more than one, and if but one the 
whole to such one ; I give to Caroline Matilda 
Crabbe, a daughter of the late Reverend George 
Crabbe of Bredfield in the County of Suffolk, 
Clerk, the sum of one thousand pounds, and if 

3 2 7 


she should die in my lifetime I give the said sum 
of one thousand pounds to her sister Mary 
Crabbe: I give to Arthur Charlesworth, third 
son of Edward Charlesworth, formerly of York, 
the sum of one hundred pounds ; I give to Horace 
Basham of Aldeburgh-on-Sea, in the County of 
Suffolk, the sum of one hundred pounds ; I give 
the sum of one hundred pounds to Laura, Anna, 
Harriet, and Kate (or Catharine), four of the 
daughters of the late Thomas Churchyard of 
Woodbridge, Solicitor, to be equally divided 
between them, with benefit of survivorship in 
case of the death of any or either of them in my 
lifetime ; I give to Anne, the wife of Mr. 
Richmond Ritchie (the eldest daughter of the 
late William Makepeace Thackeray), the sum of 
five hundred pounds ; I give to Miss Marietta 
Nursey, daughter of the late Mr. Perry Nursey 
of Little Bealings in the said County of Suffolk, 
an annuity or clear yearly sum of thirty pounds ; 
and I give to John Howe and Mary Anne, his 
wife, now in my service, an annuity or clear 
yearly sum of seventy pounds for their joint 
lives and the life of the longer liver of them, and 
at the decease of the longer liver of them I give 
the sum of one hundred pounds to be equally 
divided between their two sons, John Howe and 
George Howe ; I give to Emilius Cologan of 
Number 13 Percy Street, Rathbone Place, 
London, an annuity or clear yearly sum of 
fifteen pounds for his life ; and I charge the said 
several annuities of thirty pounds, seventy pounds, 


Will of Edward Fitz-Gerald 

and fifteen pounds on my residuary personal 
estate and proceeds hereinafter directed to be 
invested, and direct the payment thereof respec- 
tively quarterly, on the sixth day of January, the 
sixth day of April, and the sixth day of July, and 
the eleventh day of October, with a proportionate 
part thereof to the decease of the respective 
annuitants, a proportionate part of the first 
quarterly payment from the day of my decease 
to be paid on such of the said days as shall 
happen next after my decease : And I declare that 
the trusts hereinafter contained for disposition 
of such residue shall be subject to such annuities 
and the legacy or succession duties thereon ; 
and I declare that the said respective annuitants 
shall not be entitled to elect to receive the price or 
value of their respective annuities in lieu of such 
annuities ; and I also declare that if the said 
respective annuitants shall at any time sell, assign, 
alien, encumber, or transfer, or in anywise dispose 
of or anticipate their respective annuities, or any 
part thereof respectively, then and in such cases 
respectively, and immediately thereupon, the 
annuity so dealt with shall sink into and become 
part of the residue of my personal estate : I give 
to the treasurer for the time being of the East 
Suffolk Hospital at Ipswich the sum of one 
hundred pounds, to be applied to the uses of that 
Institution, and to be paid out of my pure 
personality within one year from my decease, 
and the receipt of such treasurer for the time 
being of the said Institution shall be a sufficient 

3 2 9 


discharge to my executors ; I give to my niece 
Eleanor Frances Kerrich, the eldest daughter of 
the late John Kerrich of Geldeston, Norfolk, the 
sum of six hundred pounds (in addition to her 
share as a residuary legatee under this my Will), 
and I give or forgive to the said Edmund Kerrich, 
and to any other of the legatees under this my 
Will who now is, or are, or may be, at the time of 
my decease, indebted to me all debts and monies 
that may be owing by him or them respectively ; 
I give my painting, the Titian landscape of 
Abraham and Isaac, which usually hangs opposite 
the fireplace in my dining-room, to the Fitz- 
William Museum in Cambridge ; I give my 
painting, the portrait of Raphael Mengs, which 
usually hangs over the bureau by the French 
window in my sitting-room, to Mr. John Loder 
of Wood bridge, stationer; I give all such articles, 
whether furniture, books, pictures, or other things 
that may be specially marked, or a list whereof 
may be left by me as intended for any of my 
friends, to the person or persons to be so 
designated by me ; I direct that all legacies and 
annuities given by this my Will shall be paid or 
delivered to the respective legatees, or annuitants, 
free of legacy duty ; and as to all the residue and 
remainder of my real and personal estate and 
effects whatsoever and wheresoever, I give the 
same to my executors, the said Edmund Kerrich, 
George Crabbe, and Ernest George Doughty, 
their heirs, executors, administrators, and assigns ; 
Upon trust (subject to the carrying out of the 


Will of Edward Fitz-Gerald 

desire and request contained in my Will as to the 
delivery of pictures, books, or other articles to my 
friends) that they, the said Edmund Kerrich, 
George Crabbe, and Ernest George Doughty, or 
the survivor of them, his executors or. admini- 
strators, shall and do as soon as conveniently can 
be after my decease convert into money in such 
manner as they or he may think proper (but 
subject to the direction and authority hereinafter 
contained as to continuing and appropriating 
investments existing at my decease) such part 
or parts of the said residue and remainder as 
shall not consist of money or securities for money, 
and invest the money to arise therefrom, and all 
ready money in their or his names or name in 
Government funds, or on Mortgage securities at 
interest, or in Bank Stock or Railway Debentures 
(with power at discretion to vary the investments 
or securities for others of a like nature), and shall 
and do stand possessed of and interested in such 
stocks, funds, and securities ; Upon trust to pay 
and divide the dividends, interest, and annual 
produce thereof in equal shares unto, between, 
and amongst my nephews and nieces ten of the 
children (eight daughters and two sons) of the 
late John Kerrich of Geldeston Hall, in the County 
of Norfolk, Esquire, and Eleanor his wife, namely, 
Eleanor Frances, Elizabeth, Amelia Jane, Mary, 
Andalusia, Anna Maria Theresa, Adeline Walker, 
Eleanor, Edmund and John, or such of them as 
may be living at the time of my decease, and the 
issue (per stirpes) of such of them as may be then 



dead leaving lawful issue, the share of each niece 
to be for her separate use, independent of any 
husband, and so that she shall not have power 
to deprive herself of the benefit thereof by sale, 
mortgage, charge, or otherwise by way of antici- 
pation, and at the expiration of ten years from 
my decease (subject nevertheless, as hereinafter 
mentioned, with respect to the share of my niece 
the wife of Funajoli), do and shall pay, 

transfer, and divide the said trust funds unto, 
between, and amongst all and every my said 
nephews and nieces hereinbefore named (the 
children of the said John and Eleanor Kerrich) 
then living, and the issue of any of them who 
may be then dead leaving lawful issue, such issue 
taking equally, if more than one, the share of 
their, his, or her parent or respective parents, and 
I direct that the share of any minor shall and 
may be paid to either of the parents (at the dis- 
cretion of my said trustees), or to the Guardian 
of such minor whose receipt shall be a good 
discharge for the same, and shall exonerate my 
said trustees from all liability in respect thereof ; 
Provided nevertheless, and I hereby direct that 
the share of my said niece Mary Funajoli as one 
of my residuary legatees shall not be paid to her, 
but shall be held by the said Edmund Kerrich 
and invested upon any of the securities herein- 
before mentioned, and the dividend, interest, and 
produce thereof shall be paid to her for her life, 
free from the control, debts, or engagements of 
her present or any future husband ; and from and 


Will of Edward Fitz-Gerald 

after decease I direct that the said share and the 
stocks, funds, and securities upon which the same 
may be invested shall be held by the said 
Edmund Kerrich, his executors, or administrators 
upon trust for such of the children of her my 
said niece Mary Funajoli at such ages or times 
and in such manner in all respects as she shall by 
her will, or any writing in the nature of a will, 
to be made by her either when sole or under 
coverture, appoint, and in default of such appoint- 
ment, then upon trust to pay and divide the same 
equally between all the children of her my said 
niece living at her decease, and the issue (per 
stirpes) of such of them as may be then dead 
leaving lawful issue, to whom I give the same 
accordingly (to be a vested interest at their 
respective ages of twenty-one years); I direct 
that my said executors or executor for the time 
being may (subject to the direction and authority 
hereinafter contained as to continuing and appro- 
priating existing securities) from time to time 
sell and dispose of securities and investments, 
whether existing at my decease or made by them 
or him, and invest the proceeds in any of the 
stocks, funds, and securities hereinbefore specified, 
and may in their or his discretion from time to 
time vary such investments for any other of a 
like nature ; I empower my trustees or trustee for 
the time being in their or his discretion to advance 
and apply any part not exceeding one-half of 
the capital to which under any of the bequests 
or dispositions contained in this my Will any 



minor may be entitled or presumptively entitled 
in or towards the preferment or advancement in 
the world of such minor ; I direct that my 
executors or executor shall provide for payment 
of such legacies as may under this my Will or any 
Codicil or Codicils which I may hereafter make, 
be payable at my decease, and the duty thereon, 
by calling in any mortgage or mortgages that may 
be due to my estate, or by selling out such stock 
or realising such investment or investments as 
can be sold out or realised with the least loss of the 
capital originally invested ; and it is my wish that 
no trustees or trustee under this my Will or any 
Codicil or Codicils which I may hereafter make, 
shall sell out from any investment reasonably 
considered a safe investment made by me or by 
themselves or himself which may have fallen in 
value since the time of investment (provided 
dividends thereon are regularly paid) if such 
a course can possibly be avoided ; and I also 
direct that my executors or executor for the 
time being may appropriate any investment exist- 
ing at my decease, and which cannot be then 
sold out except at a loss, as part of the trust funds 
hereinbefore directed to be invested for the benefit 
of the Kerrich family at the values current at the 
time of such appropriation, my desire being that 
no sale should be effected at a loss if it can 
possibly be avoided, and that my executors or 
executor for the time being shall have sole and 
absolute discretion and authority as to all such 
appropriations, and I desire and request my said 


Will of Edward Fitz-Gerald 

nephews and nieces and their issue to invest, or 
cause to be invested, their respective legacies and 
shares or portions, when paid to them, in some 
publicly guaranteed safe investment, British or 
Foreign, and not in any private speculation what- 
ever, or by whomsoever solicited, and I rely on 
their obeying this my solemn injunction ; I devise 
all real estate vested in me as a trustee or mort- 
gagee unto my said trustees the said Edmund 
Kerrich, George Crabbe, and Ernest George 
Doughty, their heirs and assigns, upon the trusts, 
and subject to the equities affecting the same 
respectively ; I direct that all legacies and monies 
to be paid to females by virtue of this my Will 
shall be for their own respective sole use and 
benefit, and their respective receipts alone shall, 
notwithstanding their coverture, be good dis- 
charges for the same ; I declare that if the 
trustees respectively hereby constituted, or any 
or either of them, or any trustee or trustees to 
be appointed as hereinafter provided, shall die, 
or be about to reside abroad, or desire to be 
discharged, or become bankrupt or insolvent, 
or refuse or become incapable to act in the 
execution of the aforesaid trusts, or any of them, 
before the same trusts shall be fully executed 
and performed, then and in every such case it 
shall be lawful for the surviving or continuing 
trustee (if any) for the time being (and for this 
purpose a retiring trustee, if willing to act in the 
execution of this present power, shall be deemed 
a continuing trustee), or if there shall be no sur- 



viving or continuing trustee, then for the executors 
or administrators of the last surviving trustee 
to nominate, substitute, and appoint any other 
person or persons to be a trustee or trustees in 
the place or stead of the trustee or trustees so 
dying, or being about to reside abroad, or desiring 
to be discharged, or becoming bankrupt or in- 
solvent, or refusing or becoming incapable to act 
as aforesaid, and upon every such nomination 
and appointment as aforesaid all the trust estate, 
monies, stocks, funds, and securities for the time 
being, subject to the trusts of this my Will 
respectively, shall with all convenient speed be 
conveyed, assigned, or otherwise assured, so that 
the same may become legally and effectually 
vested in such new trustee or trustees jointly 
with the surviving or continuing trustee or 
trustees (if any), or in such new trustee or 
trustees solely as the case may require, upon 
and for the several trusts, intents, and purposes, 
and with, under, and subject to the several powers, 
provisoes, and agreements hereinbefore expressed, 
declared, and contained of and concerning the 
same respectively, or such and so many of the 
same trusts, intents and purposes, powers, pro- 
visoes, and agreements as shall be then sub- 
sisting, undetermined, or capable of taking effect ; 
and every new trustee as well before as after the 
said trust property shall have been so vested in 
him shall and may have and exercise all the 
same powers, authorities, and directions, as if 
he had been hereby originally nominated and 



Will of Edward Fitz-Gerald 

appointed a trustee ; Lastly, I revoke all former 
Wills and Testamentary Dispositions by me made, 
and do declare this to be my last Will and 
Testament, in witness whereof I have to 
this my last Will and Testament contained in 
nine sheets of paper set my hand the day and 
year first above written. 

Signed by the said Edward' 
Fitz-Gerald, the Tes- 
tator, as his last Will and 
Testament,inthe presence 
of us present at the same 
time, who in his sight 
and presence, and in the 
presence of each other, 
subscribe our names as 

F. W. W. Gross, Solicitor, Woodbridge. 
John Brightwell, Woodbridge. 

Proved at Ipswich the 24th day 
of July 1883 by the oaths of 
Edmund Kerrich, the nephew ; 
the Reverend George Crabbe, 
Clerk, and the Reverend Ernest 
George Doughty, Clerk, the ex- 
ecutors, to whom admon was 

G. W. H. 




3 Chichester Place, 

Brighton, June 14^/1, 1865. 

Sir, — I was from home the day your letter 
reached Brighton, which must be my excuse for 
having delayed my answer for a day or two. I 
like to hear of your proposed volume, as I think 
there are some poems, and those not very widely 
known perhaps, of which Suffolk may well be 
proud. Are poems which have been published 
in a pocket-book public property ? If they are, 
there are some of Mrs. Fulcher's published in her 
husband's Sudbury pocket-book which are very 
beautiful, but you probably know them. You 
will also find several poems in that pocket-book 
by Miss Charlesworth (now Mrs. Edward Cowell); 
they are specified as ' by the Author of Historical 
Reveries ' ; but as I believe Mrs. Cowell is now in 
England with her husband, it might be better to 
ask her about it. I know but little of Mr. 
Mitford's poetry, but I remember years ago he 
used to contribute to Raw's Pochet-Book ; in that 
P.-B. for 1832 there are several poems by Mr. 
Mitford, one especially a beautiful sonnet to 
Charles Lamb (Elia) on his poem called ' Leisure.' 
But probably at Ipswich you can see the old 
Pocket-Books, and gather from them many that 
I have forgotten. I remember a fine poem 
of his written at the time of the Thurtell and 
Weir murder, beginning, ' The maple's head is 


Letter from Mrs. Fitz-Gerald 

glowing red, and red is the glow of the western 
sky,' which I think appeared in Raw's Pocket-Book. 
I know no poems of Miss Catherine Strickland ; 
her sister Agnes used to write in Pawsey's Pocket- 
Book. Do you know a lovely poem of the late 
Mrs. Biddell of Playford ? — she was the sister of 
Mr. James and Robert Ransome. The lines were 
written on the ' Old Foundry,' when it gave place 
many years since to a new one, and begins : — 

' The furnace fires are out, ye lathes are still, 
The engine puffs its fiery breath no more ; 
No longer now is heard the groaning mill, 
No busy feet are trampling on ye floor.' 

Altogether there are twelve stanzas of great 
beauty and tenderness. I have them in MS. ; 
they were sent by her to my dear father; but 
whether they were ever printed in Pawsey's P.-B. 
or elsewhere I know not. Her lines written in the 
park of Christchurch, Ipswich, at page 228 of the 
Old Suffolk Garland, are probably familiar to you. 

As to my own verses, you must not think me 
insensible to your implied compliment in pro- 
posing to reprint anything of mine in your present 
Miscellany ; but I never wrote anything worthy of 
the name of poetry, and I shall esteem it a great 
kindness if you will altogether leave me out. I 
think the verses you mention on the death of 
Priscilla Wakefield cannot be mine, for I have not 
the slightest recollection of having written them. 

I wish I could have been more useful to you. 
— Believe me, dear sir, yours truly, 

Lucy Fitz-Gerald. 




































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of the versions and editions of the Rubdiydt 
of Omar Khayyam, by Edward Fitz-Gerald 
and others, which have been published in 
England, the United States, and on the 
Continent. Arranged according to date of 


i. Rubdiydt of Omar Khayyam, the as- 
tronomer-poet of Persia. Translated 
into English verse. London : Bernard 
Quaritch, 1859. Small 4to, brown 
paper wrappers. Pp. xiii + 21. 

This edition, the first of Fitz-Gerald's, 
not finding buyers, was ultimately sold 
off by Mr. Quaritch at a penny a copy. 
During the last few years the demand 
for it has been keen ; and in February 
1898 a copy in the original brown 
paper wrapper was, after a smart com- 
petition in Sotheby's rooms, knocked 
down for £21. 

2. Rubdiydt of Omar Khayyam, the astro- 
nomer-poet of Persia/rendered intoEng- 



lish verse. Second edition. London : 
Bernard Quaritch, Piccadilly, 1868. 
Small 4to, wrappers. Pp. xviii + 30. 

In this edition there are alterations 
and additions. 

Rubdiydt of Omar Khayyam, the astro- 
nomer-poet of Persia, rendered into 
English verse. London : Bernard 
Quaritch, Piccadilly, 1872. Quarto, 
half-Roxburghe. Pp. xxiv + 36. 

In this edition the quatrains are 
considerably increased. 

Neither of the above-named editions 
have the name of the translator. They 
were issued anonymously, and twelve 
years elapsed before even Thomas 
Carlyle discovered that his friend, 
Edward Fitz-Gerald, was the translator. 

Rubdiydt of Omar Khayyam, the astro- 
nomer-poet of Persia, rendered into 
English verse. Boston : James R. 
Osgood & Company, 1878. Square 
i6mo. Pp. 78. Verses blank ; red 
line ($1.00). 

This is the first American edition. 

Rubdiydt of Omar Khayyam and the 
Salamin and Absal of Jami, rendered 
into English verse. Bernard Quaritch : 
Piccadilly, London, 1879. Fcap. 4to, 
half-Roxburghe. Pp. xvi +112. 

The Quilter edition. Omar Khayyam, 



the Rubdiydt, translated into English 
verse. Royal 4to, title printed on the 
covers. London : John Campbell, 
jun., 1883. 

7. The Vedder Illustrated edition. Rubdiydt 

of Omar Khayyam, with ornamental 
title-page, and 56 full-page drawings, 
by Elihu Vedder. Folio, cloth, gilt 
top. Boston, 1884 ($100.00 net). 

8. The Grolier edition. Rubdiydt of Omar 

Khayyam, the astronomer-poet of 
Persia, rendered into English verse by 
Edward Fitz- Gerald. The Grolier 
Club of New York, 1885. Medium 
octavo, printed from old-style types. 
Covers of Japan paper beautifully 
ornamented from an Oriental design. 

9. Whinfield, E. H. The Quatrains of 

Omar Khayyam, translated into Eng- 
lish verse. 253 quatrains, octavo. Pp. 
viii + 91. London, 1882. 

10. The Phototype edition. This is an 

edition of the Vedder Illustrated, 
reduced in size, with the engravings 
phototyped. Quarto, cloth, gilt top. 
Boston, 1886 ($12.50). 

11. The Memorial edition. Works of Ed- 

ward Fitz-Gerald, translator of Omar 
Khayyam, reprinted from the original 
impressions, with some corrections 
derived from his own annotated copies. 



New York and Boston : Houghton, 
Mifflin & Co. London: Bernard Qua- 
ritch, 1887. 2 vols, octavo ($10.00). 

A few large-paper copies, royal 
octavo, were issued at $25.00. 

1 2. The Comparative edition. Rub&iy&t of 

Omar Khayyam, in English verse, by 
Edward Fitz-Gerald. The text of the 
fourth edition, followed by that of the 
first, with Notes showing the extent 
of his indebtedness to the Persian 
original, and Biographical Preface. 
i2mo, half- vellum. Boston, 1888 

13. Garner, John Leslie. The Strophes of 

Omar Khayyam, translated from the 
Persian with Introduction and Notes. 
142 quatrains. Square i2mo. Pp. 
xii+76. Milwaukee, 1888. 

A second edition of this book, 
printed on one side of leaf only, was 
issued in Philadelphia in 1898. It 
contains 154 quatrains. 

14. Letters and Literary Remains of Ed- 

ward Fitz-Gerald. Edited by William 
Aldis Wright. In three volumes. 
London: Macmillan & Co., and New 
York. Crown 8vo, 1889. 

15. Rubdiydt of Omar Khayyam. Prose 

version by Justin Huntly M'Carthy. 
Fcap. 8vo, bds. Pp. lxii + clvi. Lon- 



don, 1889. 550 copies on small 
paper and 60 copies on large paper 
were issued, printed in capital letters 

An edition of this prose version 
was published in America in 1896. 

16. Rubdiydt of Omar Khayyam, the astro- 

nomer-poet of Persia, rendered into 
English verse. London : Macmillan 
& Co., and New York, 1890. Crown 
8vo. Pp. iv + 1 1 2. 

This is a reprint of the Rubdiydt by 
itself, from the ' Letters and Literary 

1 7. Pamphlet edition of Rubdiydt of Omar 

Khayyam. i2mo, green paper wrap- 
per. Pp.48. San Francisco, 1 89 1 (20 

18. The Old World edition. Rubdiydt of 

Omar Khayyam. Narrow fcap. 8vo, 
vellum boards, uncut. Containing 
parallel texts of the first and fourth 
editions, a list of the variations be- 
tween the second, third, and fourth 
editions, quatrains printed in the 
second edition only, and biographies 
of Edward Fitz-Gerald and of Omar 
Khayyam, 1895. Mr. Mosher, Port- 
land, Maine. 

Five editions of this book have been 
issued, each consisting of 925 copies. 



1 9. Selections from the Rubdiydt. Octavo. 

Pp. 21. Boston, December 1893. Pri- 
vately printed by John L. Stoddard. 

20. The Multi- Variorum edition. Rubdiydt 

of Omar Khayyam. English, French, 
and German translations. Compara- 
tively arranged in accordance with the 
text of Edward Fitz-Gerald's version, 
with Notes, Biographies, and Biblio- 
graphies. Edited by Nathan Haskell 
Dole. 2 vols. i2mo. Boston, 1896. 

There was a second edition of this 
book, with additions, in 1898. 

2 1 . Rubdiydt of Omar Khayyam of Naisha- 

piir, the astronomer-poet of Persia, 
rendered into English verse. C. H. 
St. John Hornby, Ashendene Press, 
1896. Small 4to. Pp. xl + 48. 

22. Rubdiydt of Omar Khayyam. A para- 

phrase from several literal translations 
by Richard Le Gallienne. Narrow 8vo. 
Pp. xvi + 88. London, 1897. 

In the same year an edition was 
published in New York. 

23. The Quatrains of Omar Khayyam, the 

astronomer-poet of Persia, now first 
completely done into English verse in 
the original forms, by John Payne. In 
all about 840 quatrains. Octavo, 
vellum, gilt top. The Villon Society, 
London, 1898. 



24. The Rubdiydt of Omar Khayyam, being 

a facsimile of the manuscript in the 
Bodleian Library at Oxford, with a 
transcript into modern characters. 
Translated, with an Introduction and 
Notes, and a Bibliography, by Edward 
Heron- Allen. London: H. S. Nichols, 
L.T.D., 1898. Royal octavo, white 
leather. Pp. xiii + 287. 

A second edition of this book was 
issued in 1899. London: Bernard 
Quaritch. 7s. 6d. 

25. Rubdiydt of Omar Khayyam, the astro- 

nomer-poet of Persia, rendered into 
English verse. Golden Treasury edi- 
tion, 1899. P ott 8vo, 2s. 6d. net. 
Macmillan & Co., London. 

This edition is Fitz-Gerald's fourth, 
with all the variations between the 
second, third, and fourth editions, and 
a list of the stanzas which appear in 
second edition only. 

The following editions have no date. 

26. The Crowell edition. Rubdiydt of Omar 

Khayyam, and the Salaman and Absal 
of Jami, rendered into English verse, 
by Edward Fitz-Gerald. Square 1 2mo. 
Pp. 288. New York and Boston. 

27. Pamphlet edition. Rubdiydt of Omar 

Khayyam. Square i2mo, grey wrap- 
per. Pp.60. San Francisco (25 cents). 



28. Rubdiy&t of Omar Khayyam. Square 
i2mo, bds. Pp. 64. Published for 
Will Bradley by R. H. Russell, New 

For many facts in this Bibliography 
I am indebted to a List issued by Mr. 
Mosher, Portland, Maine, who has 
published a larger number of Fitz- 
Gerald's translations than any other 
publisher in the United States. 



of Articles in Reviews and Magazines 
relating to Fitz-Gerald and Omar. 

Atlantic Monthly ', April 1878, 'A Persian 

Poet.' Thos. B. Aldrich. 
Academy, Sept. 20, 1879, Fitz-Gerald's fourth 

edition reviewed. 
Academy, Nov. 30, 1895, 'Letters of Edward 

Fitz-Gerald to Fanny Kemble.' R. C. 

Academy, Aug. 3 1889, ' Literary Remains 

of Edward Fitz-Gerald.' Edward Dowden. 
Athenceum, July 13, 1889, 'Literary Remains 

of Edward Fitz-Gerald.' 
Blackwood s Magazine, Nov. 1889, 'Edward 

Fitz-Gerald.' F. H. Groome. 
Calcutta Review, 1895, article by H. G. 

Century Magazine, Nov. 1884, ' Omar. 
Cornhill Magazine, Dec. 1890, 'Omar's 

Contemporary Review, March 1876, 'The 

Rubdiydt of Omar.' Shultz Wilson. 



Daily Telegraphy Aug. 15, 1879, Fitz- 
Gerald's fourth edition reviewed. 

Dial, Nov. 1889, 'The Translator of Omar 
Khayyam.' Melville B. Anderson. 

Dial, Oct. 1895, 'More Fitz-Gerald Letters.' 
E. G. J. 

Edinburgh Review, Oct. 1894, 'Letters of 
Edward Fitz-Gerald.' 

English Illustrated Magazine, Feb. 1894, 
' Fitz-Gerald.' Edward Clodd. 

Fortnightly Review, July 1889, 'Edward 
Fitz-Gerald.' Edmund Gosse. 

Fortnightly Review, Dec. 1896, 'Omar.' J. 
A. Murray. 

Erasers Magazine, June 1870, 'Account of 

Erasers Magazine, May 1879, 'The True 
Omar Khayyam.' Mrs. Cadell. 

Leisure Hour, Jan. 1895, Edward Fitz- 
Gerald.' John Dennis. 

Littell's Living Age, 29th March 1890, 
' Edward Fitz-Gerald.' 

London Quarterly Review, July 1895, 
' Edward Fitz-Gerald.' 

Macmillans Magazine, Nov. 1887, 'Omar 
Khayyam.' H. G. Keene. 

Magazine of Art, May, ' Edward Fitz- 
Gerald.' Sidney Colvin. 

National Review, Dec. 1 890, * Omar of 
Naishapur.' C. J. Pickering. 

New Englander, Nov. 1888, 'Schopenhauer 



and Omar Khayyam.' Wm. Lyon 

New Englander, Jan. and Feb. 1890, 'A 

Review of the Works of an English Man 

of Letters, Edward Fitz-Gerald.' Thos. 

Rutherford Bacon. 
North American Review, Oct. 1869, review 

of Nicolas' edition of Omar.' 
New York Evening Post, April 21, 1883, 

'Whinfield's 1882 Version of the Quatrains 

of Omar Khayyam.' 
Old mid New (Boston, U.S.A.), May 1872, 

' Poems of Omar.' Rev. J. W Chad- 
Pall Mall Gazette, Feb. 16, 1898, review 

of Heron-Allen's Edition of Fitz-Gerald's 

Punch, Aug. 17, 1895, 'Five Mock Rubdiydt, 

entitled " A Query by Omar Khayyam." ' 
Quarterly Review, July 1896, ' Letters of 

Edward Fitz-Gerald.' 
Scotsman, Sept. 12, 1879, Fitz-Gerald's 

fourth edition reviewed. 
Saturday Review, Jan. 16, 1886, J. H. 

M'Carthy on 'Fitz-Gerald's Omar.' 
Saturday Review, July 20, 1889, 'The 

Rubdiydt of Omar Khayyam.' 
Saturday Review, Aug. 10, 1895, 'Past Days 

in East Anglia.' 
Spectator, Aug. 17, 1889, 'Edward Fitz- 



Spectator, Aug. 17, 1889, 'Mr. M'Carthy's 

Omar Khayyam.' 
The Nation, Oct. 26, 1893, 'The Omar Cult 

in England.' Dr. M. D. Conway. 
The Nation, Oct. 24, 1895, ' Fitz-Gerald 

and Fanny Kemble.' 
Westminster Gazette, Feb. 22, 1898, J. H. 

M'Carthy on Heron-Allen's edition of 

Fitz-Gerald's Omar. 
Westminster Review, March 1896, 'Edward 

Fitz-Gerald.' Maurice Todhunter. 

For some of the references in the 
above list I am indebted to Mr. Edward 
Heron- Allen's volume on the Rvbdiydt. 



Airy, Rev. William — 

Legacies to his daughters, 326. 
Lifelong friend of Fitz-Gerald, 10. 
Allen, Rev. John — 

Appointed Mathematical Lecturer, Ex- 
amining Chaplain, and Archdeacon 
of Salop, 72. 
College friend of Fitz-Gerald, 13. 
Visit of Fitz-Gerald to, 218. 

Barton, Bernard, facts about, 60. 

Barton, Lucy, her marriage to Fitz-Gerald, 

Bibliography — 

Of articles in reviews and magazines 
relating to Fitz-Gerald, 349. 

Of the works of Omar Khayyam, 341. 
Books by Fitz-Gerald — 

Euphranor, 124. 

Polonius, 127. 

Sea Words and Phrases along the Suffolk 
Coast, 129. 

z 353 


Borrow, George, a visitor to Fitz- Gerald, 

' Bredfield Hall,' poem by Fitz-Gerald, 1 20. 

Brooke, Captain, as a lover of books, 208. 

Buller, Charles, and others, whose friend- 
ship with Fitz-Gerald was formed at 
Cambridge, 18. 

Calderon's Six Dramas, translated by Fitz- 
Gerald, 142. 
Cambridge tutors, Fitz-Gerald's, 1 2. 
Carlyle, Thomas — 

Friendship of, with Fitz-Gerald, 75. 
Letters of, to Fitz-Gerald, 228. 
Visit of, to Fitz-Gerald at Woodbridge, 
Cowell, Professor, Fitz-Gerald's guide in 

Spanish and Persian literature, 141- 146. 
Crabbe, Rev. George — 
Death of, 55. 
Friendship of, with Fitz-Gerald, 52. 

Fawcett, Mrs. Henry, letter from, 296. 

Professor Henry, acquaintance of, with 

Fitz-Gerald, 294. 
Fitz-Gerald, Edward — 

Anecdotes of, 34. 

As a host, 58. 

As a vegetarian, 41. 

At the Lakes with Tennyson, 26. 

Birth of, at Bredfield Hall, 3. 



Fitz-Gerald, Edward, continued — 
Burial of, 313. 
Childhood of, 5. 
Cottage home at Boulge, 48. 
Death of, 309. 
Description of, 83. 
Disregard of, for wealth, 106. 
Dunwich, the ruined city ; meets Edwin 

Edwards and Charles Keene there, 

Facts about his marriage, 246. 
Fame of, rests on his Persian transla- 
tions, 185. 
Friendship of, with — 

Carlyle, 75. 

Milnes, Monckton, 252. 

Tennyson, 66. 

Thackeray, 220. 
Generosity of, 103. 
In rooms in London, 22. 
Last days of, 301. 
Letters of, to Lord Houghton, 254. 
Library of, 187. 
Life of, at Cambridge, 14. 
Literary work of, 112. 
Marriage of, 237. 
Merton Rectory, 5. 

Last visit of, to, 308. 

Sudden death of, at, 309. 
Mother of, the, 5. 
Movements of, from place to place, 32. 



Fitz-Gerald, Edward, continued — 
Persian studies of, 146. 
Personal characteristics of, 83. 
Sent to Grammar- School at Bury St. 

Edmunds, 8. 
Separation of, from his wife, 248. 
Settling down in a home of his own, 45. 
Social evenings held by, 56. 
Spanish literature studied by, 141. 
Stay of, at Southampton, 20. 
Visit of friends to, 268. 

of, to France when nine years 

old, 7. 
of, to Ireland, 78. 
of, to Kenilworth, 69. 
of, on leaving college, 18. 
Warm friendships of, 62. 
Will of, 324. 

Mrs. Edward, letter from, 338. 

Peter, story of, 10. 

Groome, Archdeacon, friendship of, with 
Fitz-Gerald, 59. 

Hay, Colonel John, address of, to the Omar 
Khayyam Club, 176. 

Houghton, Lord, friendship of, with Fitz- 
Gerald, 252. 

Keene, Charles, acquaintance of, with Fitz- 
Gerald, 288. 



Kemble, Fanny, her friendship with Fitz- 

Gerald, 277. 
Mrs. Charles, friendship of Fitz-Gerald's 

mother with, 7. 

Laurence, Samuel, friendship of, with Fitz- 

Gerald, 36. 
Letters of Fitz-Gerald, their beauty and 

purity, 137. 
Little Grange, description of, 261. 

Marriage — 

Of Fitz-Gerald with Lucy Barton, 237. 
Register, official copy of the, 353. 
M'Carthy, Justin Huntly, poem to Fitz- 
Gerald by, 321. 

Omar KhayyAm — 
Facts about, 150. 

Works of, translated by Fitz-Gerald, 

Persian studies of Fitz-Gerald, 146. 
Pilgrimage to Fitz-Gerald's grave, 316. 
Poems by Fitz-Gerald — 

'Bredfield Hall,' 120. 

'The Meadows in Spring,' 115. 

Read, Mr. James, a famous bookseller at 
Ipswich, 203. 



Sea Words and Phrases along the Suffolk 

Coast, 129. 
Spanish literature first studied by Fitz- 

Gerald, 141. 
Spedding family, the, 27. 
Spedding, James — 
Death of, 293. 
His friendship with Fitz- Gerald formed 

at school, 10. 
Visit of Fitz-Gerald to, 26. 

Tennyson, Alfred, Lord — 

At Woodbridge with Fitz-Gerald, 268. 
Dedicates ' Tiresias ' to Fitz-Gerald, 

Friendship of, with Fitz-Gerald, 66. 
His admiration of Fitz-Gerald's prose, 
Thackeray, W. M.— 

First met Fitz-Gerald at Cambridge, 13. 
Love of, for Fitz-Gerald, 220. 
' The Meadows in Spring,' poem by Fitz- 
Gerald, 115. 
Thompson, W. H., one of Fitz-Gerald's 

college friends, 13. 
Trench, Archbishop, friendship of, with 

Fitz-Gerald, 324. 
Tributes to Fitz-Gerald's genius by 
Asquith, H. H., 180. 
Clodd, Edward, 184. 
Hay, Colonel John, 177. 



Tributes to Fitz-Gerald's genius by 
M'Carthy, Justin Huntly, 183. 
Norton, Professor Charles Eliot, 175. 
Swinburne, Algernon Charles, 183. 
Williams, Dr. Talbot, 176. 

Wherstead Lodge, description of, 23. 
Will, official copy of Fitz-Gerald's, 324. 

Printed by T. and A. Constable, Printers to Her Majesty 
at the Edinburgh University Press